Homebase says no to bee-harming pesticides

17 Nov 2017
Commitment to stop using neonicotinoids on garden plants is welcomed

Friends of the Earth has welcomed Homebase’s commitment to stop using neonicotinoids on garden plants, supported by a robust audit process [1].

Earlier this week giant Friends of the Earth bees visited a Homebase store in south London [2], to urge the firm to act, pointing out that nine of the leading ten garden centres and retailers had already committed to telling plant suppliers not to use the chemicals.

Last week the UK government announced [3] that it supports tougher restrictions on these bee-harming chemicals.

Friends of the Earth bee campaigner Dr Nick Rau said:

“We’re delighted Homebase has committed to not using bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides on its garden plants, and to back this up with a robust auditing process.

“This is great news for our bees, and for the many thousands of people across the UK who urged Homebase to act.

“We hope the Royal Horticultural Society will now back calls for these neonic pesticides to be kept out of our garden plants.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1. Homebase statement

“As a responsible retailer, we remain committed to reducing our environmental impact, taking action where necessary with regards to our product ranges and supply chain.   We have been working closely with our suppliers and seeking advice from other stakeholders about the use of neonicotinoids, we have committed to stop using these insecticides on garden plants, as well as removing neonicotinoid-based garden care products from sale by the end of 2018.

This will be supported by a robust audit process, which will include ongoing monitoring of the evolving science surrounding pollinators. 

This decision took some time while we sought advice from our team and suppliers as well as other key stakeholders. This is consistent with the way we approach any decision that impacts our offer to customers.”

ENDS

2. Friends of the Earth bees buzzed Homebase earlier this week over neonicotinoids, ahead of store's new policy.

3. UK government backs new restrictions on bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides.

4. In August this year Friends of the Earth revealed that nine of the top ten leading garden centres and retailers don’t want suppliers to use the chemicals on plants.

5. Earlier this year research by leading bee scientist Professor Dave Goulson revealed that 70% of the plants tested from a number of stores contained neonicotinoid pesticides – including three pesticides restricted across Europe that have been found to pose a ‘high acute risk’ to honeybees. Plants bought at Homebase were amongst those which tested positive for the restricted pesticides.

6. Over 18,000 people contacted Homebase, via a Friends of the Earth online action, urging the store to act on neonicotinoids.

7. A Friends of the Earth YouGov poll published in May 2017 found that over three quarters of the British public (78%) agree that garden centres and retailers should not sell plants grown with pesticides that are harmful to bees.

8. Friends of the of the Earth is also urging the Royal Horticultural Society [RHS] to call on suppliers not to use the three restricted neonicotinoid chemicals. The RHS says it is speaking to the trade about Professor Goulson’s research and “will provide an update once we have decided the most appropriate action”