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Guiding Principles

The DuPont View on the Role of Biotechnology

DuPont is putting science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life everywhere.

We believe the broad field of biotechnology presents important opportunities that should be explored and developed to identify those safe and commercially viable applications that bring significant benefits to society. These opportunities arise in areas including food, materials, energy generation, polymers, sensors and electronics. Benefits may include lower cost, higher quality products and reduced reliance on fossil fuels along with other environmental benefits.

Within this context, we support the responsible application of biotechnology including, where appropriate, the selective use of genetic engineering.

Today, one of the world’s most difficult challenges is in agriculture — how to provide a safe and abundant supply of food, feed and fuel materials for a growing population while using less land, water, chemicals and nutrients. Biotechnology is part of the DuPont integrated science strategy being applied to such challenges. We believe the tools of biotechnology can help generate more affordable, efficient and environmentally sustainable solutions.

We believe that ethical discussions concerning the impact of biotechnology must include the benefits and consequences of applying and not applying biotechnology to the world’s problems. We believe the good that can be accomplished is only beginning to be realized.

We apply the following Bioethics Guiding Principles to our research, development and commercialization of biotechnology.


DuPont is committed to comprehensive stewardship of biotechnology as we leverage it for beneficial use long term. We believe in a prudent approach that includes caution and care - that is, we will carefully consider the wishes of society, protection of the environment and need for increased productivity as we develop biotechnology products and/or license our technology. This belief comes from our agricultural and industrial experience over the past 200 years.

The following Bioethics Guiding Principles will guide us operationally and are further confirmation of our commitment to stakeholders as we pursue the opportunities and resulting benefits Biotechnology can offer the world. The Principles reflect independent work by the University of Pennsylvania Bioethics Center, along with direct guidance from the DuPont external Biotechnology Advisory Panel and influence from other diverse, international groups with whom we interact. We are committed to continuous learning and improvement, to address emerging issues and to adjust as needed.

DuPont will periodically review progress in each area with the external Biotechnology Advisory Panel. These reviews will be a key part of the DuPont commitment to stakeholders in developing and commercializing Biotechnology in a safe and responsible manner.

DuPont Biotechnology: Bioethics Guiding Principles

  1. Commitment to Food/Feed Safety
    DuPont will develop products derived from biotechnology that are at least as safe as their conventionally produced counterparts for both human food and animal feed using the best available scientific knowledge.

  2. Environmental Focus
    DuPont will endeavor to apply biotechnology in production systems so there is a net gain for the environment.

  3. Conserving Biodiversity
    DuPont will strive to protect and conserve natural resource biodiversity.

  4. Transparency of Information
    DuPont believes in the individual’s right to information regarding product safety. DuPont will apply a strict and transparent standard in determining what product information is proprietary. DuPont will disclose safety information on its products in a clear and accessible manner.

  5. Engaging Stakeholders
    DuPont will routinely engage stakeholders (shareholders, customers, society, employees) and consider their diverse viewpoints in its decision-making process for products derived from biotechnology.

  6. Advocating Independent Research
    DuPont will seek opportunities to advocate and/or fund biotechnology research important to its business at public institutions, research centers and non-governmental organizations that follow accepted science protocols and peer review standards. DuPont supports the seed industry’s guiding principles on “Research with Commercially Available Seed Products.”

  7. Contributing to Developing Economies
    DuPont will endeavor to be socially and culturally responsible as it shares knowledge and appropriate technology in developing economies to help improve food, nutrition and the quality of life. DuPont will seek to utilize its intellectual property in ways that help alleviate hunger.

  8. Formalizing Access to Genetic Resources
    DuPont will strive to identify the owner(s) of natural biological resources and knowledge selected for research and product development and will develop fair and equitable business arrangements that recognize the contributions of the involved parties. To the extent possible, arrangements will be made public.