The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Anna Zuccaro,

Over 130,000 Demand Improved Bee Friendly Pesticide Testing Standards From EU

Global consumer group SumOfUs continues to push European governments to protect bees from killer pesticides


A petition from SumOfUs, a global consumer group, is demanding that governments throughout the EU protect bees by voting for higher standards regulating toxic pesticides. In less than two weeks, EU member states will meet in Brussels to rethink the process by which pesticides like neonicotinoids are approved. The vote would take into account a greater range of ways that pesticides harm bees, as set out in the EU's proposed 'Bee Guidance' document. SumOfUs' petition argues that there is widespread support for higher standards when legalizing harmful chemicals in pesticides across Europe, defying the interests of pesticide industry lobbyists from companies like Bayer and Dow Chemical. The petition has been signed by over 130,000 EU residents.


Earlier this year, under public pressure from SumOfUs members and beekeepers across Europe, the EU started a trial using these higher 'Bee Guidance' standards, which led to a historic ban on three bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides, imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam. The campaigners are calling for this to become the standard.

SumOfUs members and environmental activists have cited the following concerns to the EU regarding the impact of pesticides on bees, that these new higher standards would take into account, including:

  • The long-term effects of pesticides on bees and their colonies
  • The effects of exposure to low concentrations of pesticides
  • The cumulative effects of exposure to multiple pesticides
  • And to only approve pesticides as a last resort, when all non-chemicals options have failed

"We all rely on bees to pollinate fruit, vegetables, and crops. All across the world industrial pesticides, climate change and urbanisation are pushing bees to the brink -- and unless our governments and the EU take concrete steps to save the bees, this trend shows no sign of reversing," said Rebecca Falcon, Campaign Manager at SumOfUs. "The current method for testing pesticides is inadequate and ignores many ways that bees can be harmed. To save the bees, it's imperative that our governments radically improve the system and adopt advice from scientists that puts harm done to bees front and centre and we have to act now."

SumOfUs is a community of people from around the world committed to curbing the growing power of corporations. We want to buy from, work for and invest in companies that respect the environment, treat their workers well and respect democracy. And we're not afraid to hold them to account when they don't. Barely a day goes by without a fresh corporate scandal making headlines. From polluting the environment to dodging taxes - when left unchecked, corporations don't let anything stand in the way of bigger profits. In an age of multinational companies that are bigger and richer than some countries, it can be easy to feel powerless. But there is a chink in their armor. The biggest corporations in the world rely on ordinary people to keep them in business. We are their customers, their employees, and often their investors. When we act together, we can be more powerful than they are. Together, our community of millions act as a global consumer watchdog - running and winning campaign