Given the strength of arguments against the use of alm oil, you’d think a product using an oil made from algae would be popular, but the company which developed it struck problems:
When green cleaning company Ecover announced the launch of a new laundry liquid containing an oil made from algae, as an alternative to the palm oil used in most detergents, it wasn’t prepared for the backlash.
The problem? The algae producing the oil were genetically modified. “We put everything on hold,” says Tom Domen, global head of long-term innovation at Ecover, following reactions to the 2014 product trial.
Environmental groups Friends of the Earth and Grain were among 17 organisations to sign an open letter calling on the company to “reconsider the false solution of using ingredients derived from the new genetic engineering”.
For Ecover it was a lesson learned. “We had quite detailed conversations with all our stakeholders,” says Domen, “for which the main outcome was that we were a bit clearer on how we would go about deciding on responsible innovation … and what the principles for use are when going off with more controversial technologies.” . .
This is one of many examples where science is no match for environmental activism based on emotion.
It is possible to use genetic engineering responsibly and it’s irresponsible to damn a product out of hand because it’s used GE .
Radical environmentalists want stock reduced in number or even eliminated altoegether to reduce greenhouse emissions but won’t consider the possible of GE technology which would have the same environmental outcome without culling animals.
Ignorance has led to many environmental problems and ignorance based on arguments lacking any scientific basis are preventing some solutions.
Caution over new developments is prudent, refusal to countenance them at all lets science lose to emotion.