By Andrea Beste
Commissioned by Martin Häusling, MEP (The Greens/ EFA)


Even though it has been clear for many years that conventional agricultural systems in
Europe are unsustainable and need to be fundamentally changed1, time and again attempts
are made to promote techniques or products addressing only parts of the system
as the big solution. Every few years, a new super-technology is making headlines and
soon finds its way into all kinds of political strategy papers. Again and again, something
is hailed as a breakthrough for sustainability, even if the effects are much overrated and,
at times, not yet backed up by research.
Rather than being sustainable, some of these techniques and products are even harmful.
Others are beneficial, but only have a very limited scope and a much lower positive
impact than is being claimed. And still others would be useful as part of a system change,
but they do not turn agriculture per se into a sustainable technology – often the claims
of sustainability are simply fake.

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