Before crop protection products and technologies can be introduced to the market, they must demonstrate that they are harmless to people and animals and can be used without causing unjustifiable burden on the environment. For this they require official authorization, which is regulated by numerous international and national laws and provisions. We satisfy all the regulatory requirements of the countries in which our products are sold to protect crops.
It takes roughly 10 years for a crop protection product or technology to complete the entire development process including all studies and be launched onto the market. But our product stewardship does not end there. We also observe the International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The principles of this code cover the entire life cycle of a product or technology, from its development to its application and beyond. We implement all major aspects of responsible product handling in our Product Stewardship Program.
Since 2017, we have made safety-related data on our crop protection products transparent. More than 200 freely accessible summaries of scientific studies submitted in connection with the registration procedures for our active ingredients in the European Union are already available on an online platform. These documents include information on toxicological and ecotoxicological studies and investigations into degradability. From the start of 2018, noncommercial users will be given access to the full reports on request.
The application of crop protection products requires the greatest possible care. Supporting our customers and partners in the proper and safe handling of our seed and crop protection products is therefore a focus of our product stewardship. In this connection, we offer targeted training measures worldwide particularly for farmers and dealers that are designed to promote the responsible handling of our products and thus improve safety for users, the environment and consumers. Our product stewardship measures also include internal employee training measures. Furthermore our Product Stewardship Policy provides information on all principles for the responsible handling of our products, combined with specific instructions for use for our employees and those who work with our products. In addition to training activities, we produce manuals explaining the safe use and scope of protective clothing and the correct storage and disposal of our products. These manuals are available online to our customers and partners.
Responsible Care is extremely important in all areas of agriculture to minimize possible effects and the discharge of crop protection products outside of the treated crops. Protecting good surface and groundwater quality are cornerstones of the responsible use of water as a natural resource. Therefore, the application of crop protection products is subject to national water protection regulations, including in Europe the requirements of the Water Framework Directive.
We place particular importance on water protection and support agriculture in environmentally friendly land cultivation and the disposal of residual liquids following the application of crop protection products in order to avoid surface or even groundwater contamination. In this context we promote the biological remediation system Phytobac™ to our customers, which prevents point source discharges of crop protection active ingredients into water bodies during the disposal of residual.
Regarding soil erosion or runoff processes on agricultural land we are collaborating with external partners on the development of a web-based geo-information system for water protection in agriculture. This enables the visualization of site-related runoff risks by means of high-resolution risk maps supplemented with suitable mitigation proposals.