Ecotone unveils first pesticide index, in call to action for greater measurement by businesses

The Avoided Pesticide Index (AIP) aligns with the launch of Solargo’s new map of pesticides in France which shows pesticide impact and usage region by region.

June 2022: Ecotone, a pioneer and leader in organic and alternative ingredients in the UK and across Europe, has unveiled the first Avoided Pesticide Index (AIP) in collaboration with the Solagro Association. Devised as a tool for businesses, like carbon measurement, this new indicator allows companies across the food sector to easily measure their pesticide footprint and develop appropriate reduction plans.

This comes as the first interactive pesticide map of France has been launched by the Solagro Association, an organisation committed to finding more sustainable farming solutions. Available on the Adonis platform, the map allows users to zoom in to each municipality and obtain information on the average use of pesticides by treatment type and by crop.

Ecotone’s new index, based on findings used to create Solagro’s interactive map, reveals the number of chemical treatments avoided, as well as the number of hectares preserved. In 2021, the index found that Ecotone prevented 304,609 synthetic chemical treatments and preserved nearly 90,000 hectares of synthetic chemical pesticides.

The project is part of Ecotone’s mission to create food that protects and grows biodiversity. Ecotone is Europe’s largest organic food producer and the first multi-country food company to become B Corp certified. In the UK, it produces purpose-driven brands including Kallo, Whole Earth and Clipper Teas.

Christophe Barnouin, President of Ecotone, said:

“Significantly reducing our use of pesticides, which are so harmful to our health and biodiversity, is a key issue today and must be tackled collectively. We are pleased to support Solagro, which has produced work of public and scientific utility and helped make data on chemical pesticides usage at local level accessible and transparent.

With the Avoided Pesticide Index (AIP), we call on agri-food stakeholders to come together to evaluate their impact and help drive collective progress on pesticides. It is vital we reduce our dependence on chemical pesticides to limit our impact on biodiversity, and organic farming remains one of the most effective solutions. Let’s all increase our focus on producing and consuming more and more organic!”

Pesticide use: the need for a clear and transparent indicator

The lack of mapping and analysis to measure the footprint of pesticides remains evident today, and public authorities are slow to act. This has seen the use of pesticides increase across Europe, with a recent sample study finding European fruit with traces of toxic pesticides was up 53 per cent in nine years. This comes despite governments introducing reduction schemes, such as the Ecophyto plan in France, which aimed to reduce the use of pesticides by 50% within a decade.

Similarly, although 2009 European regulation requires businesses keep a record of the use of plant protection products, there is a lack of stringent regulation and access to such data. Making data on pesticide usage accessible to all is necessary in order to drive progress – a guiding belief behind Ecotone and the Solagro Association’s move to release the new map and index.

The first detailed pesticide map of France at local level, town by town

Focused on increasing transparency, Solagro’s map is the first to adopt municipal-scale precision of pesticide use, by crop and type of treatment (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, seed treatments). Based on the phytosanitary treatment frequency indicator (IFT) reference system, it is available for free on Solagro’s platform: Adonis. The publicly accessible map is interactive and allows users to find information on pesticide usage and treatment of agricultural land across regions. The Association hopes to roll out similar maps across Europe.

This comes as, on Wednesday 22 June, the European Commission presented a proposal for a revision of the directive on the sustainable use of pesticides. This index and new pesticide map of France provide a new tool for authorities, businesses and the agricultural sector to pilot effective reduction policies and open up new fields of research on the impact of pesticides on human health and ecosystems.

Commenting on this, Aurélien Chayre, Agronomist, in charge of agroecology-biodiversity projects at Solagro, says:

“The result of a collective effort within Solagro, we are proud to present for the first time in France, this interactive map on the use of pesticides. It is part of our desire for transparency and sharing of data that everyone can access.

Farmers, agri-food companies, territories and municipalities that have embarked on a proactive policy of reducing plant protection products, in particular by developing organic farming, are paving the way for others to help reduce this impact. Our commitment to agroecological transitions and biodiversity preservation is focused on collective and systemic solutions.”

Press contacts: 

Siobhan Hennessy,

About Ecotone:
Ecotone is the European leader in organic, vegetarian and fair trade food. Its mission is to nourish biodiversity, through strong and committed brands: Allos, Alter Eco, Bjorg, Bonneterre, Clipper, Destination, Danival, El Granero, Isola Bio, Kallø, Whole Earth and Zonnatura. In 2019, it is the 1st European food company to obtain the B Corp certification. Its family of companies is present in 6 European countries and has its headquarters near Lyon. It employs 1600 people andachieved a turnover of 725 million euros in 2021. Through its Foundation, the company supports ecosystem restoration and conservation projects. 

About Solagro, Association at the service of energy, agroecological and food transitions

Solagro is an associative company that puts its expertise at the service of agroecological, energy and food transitions. Its multidisciplinary team ofengineers, energy companies, agronomists… addresses in a systemic way the challenges that weigh on life and the environment, in an overall and long-term vision. With 40 years of experience, Solagro integrates engineering, applied research and training skills that complement and enrich each other for the construction and implementation of strategies, action plans and concrete projects in the  energy, agricultural and food transitions.