Social acceptance key for innovation, new technologies - Bayer CEO

08 December 2010 15:21  [Source: ICIS news]

LEVERKUSEN, Germany (ICIS)--Bayer’s newly appointed CEO Marijn Dekkers launched a rallying call on Wednesday to address the public’s reservations about the chemical industry and the myths that hinder innovation.

Speaking at the German major’s Perspective on Innovation conference at its headquarters in Leverkusen, Dekkers said that more must be done by companies to tackle “a declining lack of acceptance”.

He pointed specifically to Germany, where emotional – and, in some cases, irrational – resistance to new projects and technologies have become a growing issue. The risks were all too often highlighted, rather than the opportunities, he said.

“We want to be an innovation leader in the areas in which we do business... We provide solutions to the major challenges of our age,” said Dekkers.

“However, we must set the course today if we are to be optimally prepared for these trends. Here we are not just talking about research and how to finance it… social acceptance is of equal importance,” he added.

“We must do all in our power to dispel people’s reservations against industrial activity and new technologies,” he said. “We can only reach our goal through open communication that addresses people’s questions and concerns. But this also includes reminding them that blocking projects and new technologies will not be without consequence for society in the long run.”

Politicians and the relevant authorities, he said, were obliged to safeguard objectivity and transparency.

By way of example, Dekkers pointed to the concerns raised about green genetic engineering, despite its potential. Although it had been proven around the world, the technology, he added, faced enormous regulatory hurdles in Europe.

“I am convinced of the fact that acceptance of new technologies is higher in America and Asia than in Europe,” he said.

“I was somewhat surprised, to be honest, to see how incredibly difficult it can be to launch new technologies or new plants in Germany and also other European countries compared with my experience in both America and Asia. There is a clear difference.”

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By: Andy Brice
+44 20 8652 3214

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