Countrywide Porter Novelli reaps CropGen biz bounty

LONDON: Countrywide Porter Novelli (CPN) has been handed a high-six-figure account to handle all communications for CropGen, a new UK initiative which aims to promote a more balanced debate about genetically modified foods.

LONDON: Countrywide Porter Novelli (CPN) has been handed a high-six-figure account to handle all communications for CropGen, a new UK initiative which aims to promote a more balanced debate about genetically modified foods.

LONDON: Countrywide Porter Novelli (CPN) has been handed a

high-six-figure account to handle all communications for CropGen, a new

UK initiative which aims to promote a more balanced debate about

genetically modified foods.



CPN won a three-way pitch to the consortium of biotech companies -

including such global heavy-hitters as Aventis CropScience, Dow

AgroSciences, Monsanto and Novartis Seeds - which fund CropGen.



The account will be led by director Steve Marinker, who will direct a

nine-strong team. He will report directly to the communications and

public affairs directors of the sponsoring companies.



According to Marinker, one of the main goals of the campaign is to

provide the media with easier access to the CropGen panel of experts,

chaired by Vivian Moses, visiting professor of biotechnology at Kings

College, London.



’The consortium is keen for people to hear all sides of the argument,’

he said.



CPN’s work will include manning phone lines for members of the public

who have questions, overseeing the launch of a biotech Web site

(www.cropgen.org) next month and distributing literature. In total,

CropGen will ante up dollars 800,000 for the campaign in 2000 alone.



Despite being funded by the consortium, CropGen claims to be an

independent group. To this end, its backers have signed an agreement

forbidding them from vetoing the panel’s recommendations.



The formation of CropGen was announced on the eve of the Organization

for Economic Co-operation and Development conference in Edinburgh. The

conference surveyed the scientific and health aspects of genetically

modified food.



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