Genetic Engineering and Sustainable Agriculture

Is relying on toxic chemicals the only way forward? Can 'business as usual' in agriculture provide food for the future? Greenpeace is working on all this and more.

  • Agriculture is responsible for 14 percent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions. Ecological farming can help reduce these emissions, and help farmers cope with climate change.
  • Genetic Engineering makes us dependent on toxic chemicals and corporate control of agriculture. It poses unknown risks to our environment - and ourselves.
  • Groundwater contamination, fewer places to fish and more pests resistant to pesticides: These are just some of the problems arising from industrial polluting agriculture's addiction to toxic chemicals.
  • Ecological farming can produce 30 percent more food per hectare. Ecological farming gives people access to food where it is needed most.


Greenpeace activists aboard the 'Federal Pescadores' carrying GE soy. The activists attached themselves to onboard cranes and the anchor chain of the cargo ship to prevent the cargo being unloaded.

After the ten years of commercial growing 85% of GE crops are still grown in just three countries: Argentina, Canada and the US. This means that in the overwhelming majority of countries commercial growing is only happening on a merely symbolic scale or not at all. Africa, Europe, Russia, the Pacific and most of Asia are still GE free.

Meanwhile, the genetic engineering industry is rapidly loosing the last bit of credibility, as illegal GE foods are entering the foodchain, such as what happened with Bayer GE rice.

Also, the support for GE crops is eroding because more and more scientific publications are showing the health and environmental dangers of genetic engineering.

Last but not least - the overwhelming majority of consumers around the world are opposed to genetic engineering.

This has led to the rejection of GE foods by major supermarkets and foodcompanies, among them Carrefour, Unilever and McDonalds. If this rejection trend continues, the incentive for growing GE crops will eventually disappear.

People all over the world from consumers to scientists are saying NO to GE crops. By saying we want to stay GE free we are winning the fight to keep our environment and food chain natural.

Greenpeace's stance

Greenpeace is opposed to the release of genetically engineered organisms (GE organisms) into the environment and the food chain. Greenpeace is also against the patenting of life.

GE organisms have been released without adequate knowledge about their effects on the ecology, wildlife and human health.

Greenpeace does not campaign against the contained use of GE organisms, such as for medical applications.

Greenpeace demands

  • The safety of consumers and the environment should be more important than  the commercial interest of the genetic engineering industry;
  • GE foods should be withdrawn from the market, as they are unwanted, unneeded and unsafe;
  • The genetic engineering industry should be held liable for any damage to the environment and or human health that occurs as a result of the release of GE foods and GE crops.