Case Study

A Biotech Commodity Coalition

Project

A commodity coalition sought to first secure market acceptance for a new crop, and then galvanize stakeholders around a common message that had the potential to impact the regulatory acceptance of and ultimately growers’ access to this biotech crop.

Deliverables

Regulatory Affairs; Industry Reputation; Crisis Communications; Product Acceptance

THE CHALLENGE:
A commodity coalition was formed to provide scientific, benefit and product information to secure market acceptance from the crop’s industry. A collective voice was needed to build consensus and resolve concerns regarding this genetically modified crop.

The coalition needed to unite all levels of the value chain to gain adoption of the biotech crop among processors and customers, and secure deregulation.

Despite challenges from opponents, the crop’s industry overall remained united and gained consensus among stakeholders including growers, users and consumers to secure deregulation of this genetically modified crop.

THE SOLUTION:

Standing Partnership worked with the coalition to identify the stakeholders for whom buy-in was essential – growers, processors, users and influencers to consumers – and created a strategic communications plan to reach all levels of the value chain. The plan identified what stakeholders needed to know and what tools would best help them better understand the technology and the product derived from the crop.

The solution was a stakeholder toolkit of materials, including:
• Key messages
• Q&A document
• Brochures
• Videos showcasing planting and harvest
• Backgrounders
• Website

We also helped the coalition conduct briefings with academics, dietitians and select media to obtain third-party support, a critical component of acceptance.

Recognizing that crisis communication is a key component of a regulatory affairs process, we helped the coalition prepare for potential negative situations with a plan that included a media inquiry process, an issues grid and media and online monitoring efforts to identify potential risks. Later, when several opponents of biotechnology initiated legal action that challenged the deregulation, the coalition leadership team deployed the crisis plan, working closely with Standing Partnership and legal counsel to develop and communicate messages to key audiences and generate support through the regulatory process.

RESULTS

The coalition utilized the power of collaboration and deployed a strategic process for achieving consensus and alignment among all stakeholders, which expedited processor and customer acceptance and thus the commercial launch of the crop.

95%

of acreages belonging to farmers in the United States and Canada are planted with this crop because of the environmental and economic benefits they bring to farming operations.