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Reader interview, Jacques de Gerlache: “We need more than ever to feed our debates with facts”

FROM OUR JUNIOR TEAM /

Jacques de Gerlache, a loyal reader of the GEAB, is one of the founding members of the multilingual information website greenfacts.org, a popular science media that publishes factual summaries of international reports. He talks to us about the value of this approach and the importance of its role in our current information system.

How did the GreenFacts.org website come about? What are the objectives of this project?

For twenty-five years I worked for the Solvay group, which produces essential and advanced chemicals, as well as specialty materials. In the 80s and 90s we were subject to strong criticism about the environmental and health impact of our activities. At the time, these criticisms concerned chlorine, PVC, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were initially destructive to the ozone layer. We took these criticisms seriously, which enabled us to propose alternatives quite early on. Very often we had to justify the limits and effects of our activities. What I’m happy about is that during this career, not once did I have to defend something that I, or the band, didn’t sincerely believe in. We have always been honest in this evaluation process, even if it meant giving up some activities, and this was the case for the CFC in particular.

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