Greenpeace Prevents GE Trees Being Planted In The Open
Auckland, 13 September 2000
Carter Holt Harvey today told Greenpeace in a letter that they will not plant genetically engineered trees out in the open environment after Greenpeace raised concerns with the company directly in June. Carter Holt Harvey had planned to plant out the GE trees by the end of July. However, as a result of concerns being raised by Greenpeace, the company has agreed to restrict this field trial and not proceed to the stage of planting the GE trees out into the open.
In a letter sent to Greenpeace on
12 July, Jay Goodenbour, Chief Executive of Carter Holt
Harvey Forests, stated that ‘I acknowledge the community
concern associated with transgenic technology, which has in
part precipitated the Royal Commission.’ Subsequently,
Carter Holt Harvey has gained approval from ERMA that they
will not now plant these GE trees out in the open in the
“Genetically engineered trees are the
new playground for some of the world’s major forest
companies. As much as we congratulate Carter Holt Harvey’s
decision to take public concerns about this technology
into account and to therefore stop this field trial from
being conducted in the open environment for now, we invite
them and the other companies involved to withdraw from
their plans to develop genetically engineered trees
altogether,” said Tricia Allen, Campaign Director for
Greenpeace in New Zealand.
“This move by Carter Holt
Harvey demonstrates industry’s partial recognition for a
precautionary approach on this issue. We now urge the
Forest Research Institute, who have two proposals for field
trials of genetically engineered pine trees pending, to
follow this lead and call off their applications to grow GE
trees in New Zealand” said Tricia Allen.
recently received over 700 submissions regarding an
application from the Forest Research Institute to field
trial genetically engineered pine and spruce trees.
Fletcher Challenge Forests and Genesis Research, an
Auckland based biotechnology company, are both part of
ArborGen, the world’s biggest joint venture in GE trees.
The other partners are International Paper, who own 50.1%
of Carter Holt Harvey, and Westvaco, two of the largest
forest product companies globally.
“We have already
seen the market for GE agricultural crops start to
collapse, and there is evidence that there won’t be a
market for GE trees either. Forest companies seeking
certification from the Forest Stewardship Council, for
instance, will be scrutinised as to whether they are
involved in developing transgenic GE trees, and if they
are, this can prevent them from gaining this certification,
which is proving to be a lucrative source for the forests
market. Therefore it is not only in the interest of the
environment, but also financially for the companies
themselves, to withdraw from developing GE trees” said
For more Information contact: Tricia Allen on
(+64) 09 630 6317 or 025 790
Greenpeace background briefing on GE trees in New Zealand
available on request.