Jun. 13, 2017
We talk with Pilar Gallego, Global Regulatory Affairs Director at Tradecorp since 2004. Throughout her long career at Tradecorp, Gallego has experienced firsthand the evolution of Tradecorp, which has gone from being a small Spanish company to being one of the great players in the plant nutrition market on a global scale.
The Tradecorp Regulatory team, led by Pilar Gallego, has successfully overcome the great challenges that Tradecorp has faced in recent years in terms of regulations, both in Europe and worldwide. We're interviewing her today to find out all the details of the success stories, as well as her opinion on the great challenges that Tradecorp will have to face in the future.
Question - Throughout your long career, you have seen not only how Tradecorp has changed, but also how the plant nutrition market has changed, on a general level, and in particular in terms of regulations. What are the biggest differences that you see compared with how the market used to be? And what are the greatest challenges that Tradecorp has faced?
Answer - The plant nutrition market has evolved enormously because, 12-15 years on, there is a lot of hype around innovative products that aim to achieve great crop results under the slogan “less is more”, and these products are becoming increasingly more important. They are very specific products that use different modes of action to provide profitability for farmers. On one hand, there are biostimulant products made from seaweed extracts and many others that already form part of farmer demands. But this advance and understanding of the market has not evolved with the same momentum for the Authorities. Regulations have not been updated to cover these new products; although it is true that more controls have been developed in recent years.
At Tradecorp, we have carried out our work throughout these years understanding this scenario, leading working groups and representing the Industry by defending biostimulant products. Our main challenge has been in defining registration policies and strategies in order to reach the market securely and cover the needs of our clients.
Q - There have been growing concerns lately in terms of safety in the management of chemical products and of those products that we consume as users, in turn leading to an increase, for example, in the demand for organic products in specific cases. What new trends can you see emerging in the market and what position is Tradecorp adopting to meet these new challenges?
A - Yes, that's true, even as consumers we can see that we are increasingly more interested in knowing what we are eating; but precisely due to this interest/concern, it is important for us to understand certain concepts. Many products are launched in the market as organic and the controls over them are not very clear. Even so, the consumer is willing to pay for them. There is also growing concern for knowing the risks of managing chemical products in different scenarios, such as industrial environments, professional consumers and public consumers and, as a result, on a global level, more and more legislation is being developed to regulate the safety of chemical products, which apply to the entire chemical sector. Tradecorp, as a manufacturer of nutritional products, manages chemical products and adheres to the highest level of requirement of these regulations. In line with our legal obligations and our commitment, we prepare action plans to meet this current demand and necessity. Our greatest challenge in this field is to adapt to this reality on a global level, as there are great differences among chemical product safety regulations, both in terms of demand and of deployment times.
Q - Adapting to the REACH Regulation, which regulates the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical Products, seems like a demanding and extensive job that could push some companies out of the market. What position has Tradecorp adopted with regards to this regulation? To what extent has Tradecorp implemented REACH?
A - As with other types of regulations, Tradecorp maintains its firm commitment to legally complying with its obligations. In particular, with regards to REACH, as this Regulation only requires registering substances for European manufacturers and importers, our positioning within the fertiliser industry is significant and noteworthy, especially taking into account the size of our company. We are currently working to present the latest registrations in accordance with the latest term defined by the European Chemicals Agency, ECHA, 31 May 2018, to have almost 30 substances registered, as a final figure.
Q - Tradecorp is a co-founding member of the EBIC (European Biostimulants Industry Council) and in 2014 it acquired the Irish company Oilean Glas Teo (OGT), specialising in harvesting and processing seaweed. These two actions reflect Tradecorp's clear interest in reinforcing its position in the growing biostimulants market on a global level. How does this position affect the Regulatory department?
A - The main impact is determined by the company’s own policy. Through its commitment to developing biostimulant products and, in particular, products derived from seaweed, the Regulatory Dept. must be present in all the relevant sectors of the Biostimulants Industry. That is why we cofounded the EBIC in 2011. Since then, we have been actively working within this European Industry Council and even more so taking into account that a new European Regulation on fertilisers will be issued in the near future, with a much wider scope, to include biostimulant products. Any action, project or contribution on our behalf in EBIC is strategic and could mark our future in the biostimulants market, no longer just on a European level, but also on a global level, given the significance and impact of Europe as a major player in these types of innovative products.
Q - Tradecorp portrays itself as a company committed to preserving the environment and the sustainable use of natural resources, working with products to achieve the maximum potential from crops in an environmentally friendly manner. What achievements of Tradecorp would you highlight in this area?
A - Besides specific achievements that are of note, and of course important, I think that it is much more relevant to transmit our commitment to working on projects and products that support the development of sustainable farming. A clear example of this that can be shown through figures is the fact that we have 38 products authorised for use in Organic Agriculture. We have been working for 11 years with certification authorities that annually audit our productive processes, as well as the sources of raw materials and additional requirements for ensuring that we provide the market with products suitable for using in Organic Agriculture. We are also growing in the field and, this year, we have started our professional path with products authorised for Organic Agriculture in Japan, achieving 5 approvals in line with the JAS standards that set out the requirements of this country and market.
Regulatory team: Irene Sobrado Loriente, European Regulatory Affairs Manager; Alexandra Castillo Martínez, Product Safety Manager: REACH & CLP; Fernando Dávila, Regulatory Affairs: MENA & APAC; Jorge L. Baqueriza, Intellectual Property & Contract Manager; Pilar Gallego Rodrigo, Global Regulatory Affairs Director; and, Clara Rueda Valverde, Regulatory Affairs Supervisor & REACH – CLP.