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Interview Details

Interview with Jean Charles Bocquet

  • Director General, ECPA
  • Dated: Monday, June 2nd 2014
  • EWP: As the new Director General of ECPA, what do you perceive as the major challenges for the crop protection sector in terms of water management? From your point of view, what are the most appropriate measures to address them?

    Jean Charles Bocquet: Water is a finite and essential resource. This is especially true for the agriculture sector, with farming accounting for up to 70% of water used in the world today.

    Agriculture stakeholders are therefore perfectly placed to identify issues and find solutions to maintaining the supply of high quality freshwater. Preserving Europe’s water quantity and quality is an ongoing effort for the Crop Protection industry. In fact we have just renewed our commitment to the EWS standards to save water on our formulation plants. It is important to start with the good and resource efficient practices straight ‘at home’.

    Our commitment as an industry extends however from water quantity to water quality.Since 2005 the TOPPS and later TOPPS prowadis multi-stakeholder projects[1] have been working on preventing contamination associated with pesticide applications in order to protect natural water resources. This proves our commitments both when improving our own behavior but also educating and helping those that handle our products. We want to show to the public that we are a responsible water user and a good water steward.

     

    EWP: What are ECPA’s efforts to improve water management of crop protection users? How does water stewardship contribute to the environmental objectives of the association?

    Jean Charles Bocquet: TOPPS and TOPPS prowadis projects are a multi-stakeholder approach – in which 13 expert partner organisations and relevant government or institute representatives from Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, and Poland work together in 3 in providing comprehensive and exhaustive lists of best management practices for farmers and advisers to avoid water contamination when using pesticides.

    TOPPS prowadis has so-far engaged more than 300 key stakeholders in the selection of Best Management Practices and trained 4000 farmers and advisers in 7 countries.

    For us the commitment is to work continually and support the correct use of pesticides, so that farmers can benefit from their efficacy while ensuring protection of the environment.

    EWP: Water stewardship promotes local actions in order to improve sustainable water management. Where have been ECPA’s greatest success stories in this regards?

    Jean Charles Bocquet:The TOPPS projects are intended to positively impact water quality at an EU level, however in order to achieve this it is necessary to focus on specific countries/ regions which are representative of the different topologies, agriculture and climate across the EU, and which also have the potential to “spill over” into neighbouring countries and regions. This was the philosophy behind choosing the “core countries” in which we have so far been active in. We hope to be able to expand directly into more countries in the future, and further spread the word about the water protection Best Management Practices that have been developed by a multi-stakeholder group of experts across the EU, and promote the availability of demonstration farms where the recommended measures can be practically shown to farmers and advisors as part of the training and awareness raising effort. The increasing availability of TOPPS materials in more and more EU languages, and growing uptake of the tools by a number of EU Member States , as part of their Sustainable Use of Pesticides National Action Plans or Water Framework River Basin Management Plans, can also be seen as part of the success we aim to achieve. One of the greatest successes is the start of the process of changing mind-sets through improved awareness of the need to protect water, and how it can be done, which we hope will have knock on effects in the EU member countries far beyond just those directly involved in the TOPPS project work.

     

    EWP: European Water Stewardship (EWS) provides practical tools for water users to implement best water management practices. What are ECPA’s next steps to further apply this approach in the field and where do you see concrete benefits for your members?

    Jean Charles Bocquet: ECPA has launched a project with its member companies to evaluate the water management at production sites of CPPs using the EWS standard. Five companies have run a pilot study in this regard last year, looking at water management at individual sites (5 companies did one pilot each - 5 sites in total) in France, Belgium and Spain.

    The outcome was that the EWS standard helps companies to assess their water management at production sites in a holistic way: from water sourcing to water discharge, from water-related risks to potential cost savings. Last but not least, member companies felt that the application of water stewardship catalyses and strengthens contacts to authorities and other water stakeholders in their river basin.

    In the next years, ECPA will strive to roll this activity out to other CPP production sites in Europe and will also evaluate if an application to agriculture, e.g. at company demonstration farms, is feasible.

  • Jean Charles Bocquet
  • Director General, ECPA
  • Jean Charles Bocquet is Director General of ECPA (European Crop Protection Association) - the Brussels-based trade association representing the manufacturers of agrochemicals in Europe - since November 2013. Jean- Charles is French; an agronomist with a specialized degree in Crop Protection. He has spent all of his career in the plant protection sector, at first with Roussel Uclaf (Hoeschst subsidiary) and then at DuPont de Nemours in various assignments from technical development, through registration, marketing, sales and management roles. From 2002 to October 2013, as Director General of the French crop protection association (UIPP) he played a significant role in France in many working groups involving various stakeholders with a strong commitment for promotion and defense of the crop protection industry sector, promoting stewardship, sustainable agriculture and openness in communication.
Agriculture stakeholders are perfectly placed to identify issues and find solutions to maintaining the supply of high quality freshwater. Preserving Europe’s water quantity and quality is an ongoing effort for the Crop Protection industry.

- Jean Charles Bocquet
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