• Monsanto is a world leader in pesticide production and genetically modified crops.
• During the Vietnam War, the US military sprayed a chemical infamously known as Agent Orange across the jungles of Vietnam to reduce tree density, making it easier for soldiers to see the ground. Approximately 72 million liters of this destructive chemical were released and caused severe health defects among the soldiers who handled the chemical, as well as the Vietnamese who were exposed to it. Monsanto was the primary manufacturer of Agent Orange.
• Monsanto has been accused of turning a blind eye to child labor; contaminating entire communities with harmful chemicals; and bribing foreign government officials.
• Despite its weekly television program, “American Heartland,” which is aimed at celebrating American agriculture, the company routinely pits itself against organic farmers and is quick to litigate over its patented seeds and crops.
• Visit Go Green to learn how you can find the products you need without harming people or the planet.
-- Profile Updated 07/05/2011
Monsanto is the leader in the bioengineering industry, applying their genetic engineering technologies to a range of agricultural commodities from corn to fertilizers. Best-known as the creator of Roundup herbicide, Monsanto produces approximately 70 percent of the world’s pest-resistant genetically engineered crops. Monsanto is based in St. Louis, Missouri and has a workforce of 21,035 in 66 countries. The company boasted sales of over $10.5 billion in 2010.
In May 2007, the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA), with a membership of around 80,000, announced that it is launching a nationwide boycott of Monsanto to protest a proposed a $1.5 billion merger with Delta and Pine Co. that would reduce competition and crush small farmers. "[The merger] is going to give Monsanto a lock on three major commodities," says Dr. John W. Boyd, Jr., president and founder of the NBFA. "They already have corn and soybeans and now they're going to have control of cotton." The Justice Department still has to approve the merger.
Millions Against Monsanto
Millions Against Monsanto, a campaign sponsored by the Organic Consumers Association, targets Monsanto for abuses ranging from bullying small farmers to failing to adequately test and disclose the genetic engineering of products on supermarket shelves. The campaign asks consumers to contact the CEO and President of Monsanto, Hugh Grant, asking him to reconsider the company’s practices.
There are no known affiliates associated with Monsanto .
St. Louis, MO 63167 USA
In 2010, Haitian farmers began to fear that Monsanto was using the wake of the devastating earthquake to gain a foothold in the Haitian economy. Monsanto made a deal with former Haitian president René Duval to distribute its patented seeds to peasant farmers. Monsanto seeds cannot be saved from season to season, so peasants would need to find a way to buy more seeds in order to maintain their livelihoods. Haitian farmers in the village of Hinche burned some of the Monsanto seeds as an expression of their anger towards their government and the agrigiant’s actions. Monsanto plants to continue distributing their seeds into 2011.
-- Global Exchange, 07/01/2011
Canadian alfalfa farmers have filed a pre-emptive lawsuit against Monsanto in order to protect themselves from the company in the future. The lawsuit seeks to determine whether or not the organic seed growers would be liable and at fault if their crops were contaminated with Monsanto’s patented seeds through natural pollination processes. Monsanto is notorious for suing farmers for violation of patent laws.
-- Organic Council of Ontario, 03/31/2011
Source URL: http://www.organiccouncil.ca/content.sz?cid=138
A coalition of 80 farm groups and environmental activists are lobbying the Canadian government to ban the commercial use of alfalfa genetically modified by Monsanto. The Canadian government approved the plant in 2005, but it cannot be used commercial until the American agribusiness giant meets registration requirements. Activists and farmers are worried that the alfalfa, modified to be tolerant of Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, would spread its genes to other unmodified organisms through natural pollination processes. They said that the contamination of other crops would be “unavoidable and irreversible,” and would cause problems for organic farms.
-- Canadian Press, 04/28/2009
As of 2008, agricultural giants Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, DuPont, BASF and others had filed 532 patents for so-called climate-ready genes around the world in countries like the United States, Argentina, Brazil, China, Mexico, South Africa, and around Europe. Advocates from the Science and Development Network fear that as large agribusiness corporations develop and patent new genetically modified organisms designed to endure environmental stresses associated with climate change, poor farmers in developing countries will be forced by their governments to use the biotech seeds.
-- Environmental News Network, 04/17/2009
Source URL: www.enn.com/agriculture/article/39709
Monsanto was an official 2005 "Public Eye Awards" nominee in the environment category. While international governments and corporations convene at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the NGO coalition known as the "Public Eye on Davos" gathers at an alternative event and presents the annual winners of the award. The awards recognize those "companies that have excelled in socially and environmentally irresponsible behavior."
-- EvB, 11/01/2005
Source URL: www.evb.ch/index.cfm?page_id=3294&archive=none
Monsanto is responsible for the contamination of an entire community by regularly dumping toxic waste from its PCB (industrial coolants which are now banned) plant in Anniston, Alabama into local waterways and open landfills for almost 40 years. From the late 1960s through the late 70s, fish placed in Anniston Creek turned belly-up and died within 10 seconds, and in nearby creeks fish were discovered with PCB levels 7,500 times greater than the legal limit. Instances of cancer within the community soared, and residents remained uninformed of the danger while their children continued to play in toxic waters. A high mortality rate among young children indicated to some that a problem existed. Monsanto had knowledge of the damage, as proven by internal documents reporting on contamination bearing labels such as “CONFIDENTIAL: Read and Destroy.” The corporation concluded that "there is little object in going to expensive extremes in limiting discharges."
-- Washington Post, 01/01/2002
Ethics and Governance
Monsanto scored a 100 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2011 Corporate Equality Index rating. This index is designed to determine the level of LGBT equality within various corporations. The index judges aspects such as partner health benefits as well as diversity and sensitivity training for employees.
-- Human Rights Watch, 07/01/2011
A 2010 ruling by U.S. district court Judge Jeffrey White declared that Monsanto’s GMO sugar beets should not be planted, even though the USDA approved them in 2005. The judge claimed the USDA ruling did not thoroughly investigate all of the risks associated with GMO foods and ordered another analysis of the crops. Even after the ruling, the USDA still issued permits for the sugar beets, and Judge White ordered that they be removed and destroyed.
-- Corporate Watch, 12/02/2010
Source URL: http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=15641
Ethics and Governance
The E.P.A fined Monsanto $2.5 Million after the company sold mislabeled bags of genetically modified cottonseeds. The mislabeled seeds were sold in parts of Texas where they were banned. Monsanto has since relabeled the seeds.
-- New York Times, 07/08/2010
A French Documentary, released in 2008 by independent filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin, exposes Monsanto’s various “deadly sins” of the past and the present. Monsanto has been a producer and promoter of severely toxic chemicals such as Agent Orange and PCBs, even when the corporation was aware of their toxic effects but remained silent for the sake of its corporate profits. Currently, Monsanto promotes the controversial genetically-engineered growth hormones such as rBGH as well as maintains patents on ninety percent of all GE seeds planted in the world. As Monsanto owns the seeds, it also owns the food produced from the seed and can limit the seeds’ reuse, thus leading to immense corporate power and farmer abuse. The film also exposes Monsanto’s “revolving door” influence over policymakers as corporate officials often switch back and forth from working in the company to regulatory government agencies such as the FDA, leading to lax testing and ignorance of serious health concerns.
-- Greenpeace International, 03/07/2008
In February 2007, the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) sued Monsanto, claiming the company used its monopolistic powers to stem its competition and artificially inflate price of glyphosate, which is the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of Delaware, seeks simply to stop Monsanto’s anticompetitive practices. No monetary damages are being sought.
-- Organic Consumers Association, 02/25/2007
Farmers across 13 states are suing Monsanto for alleged bribery of other bio-tech companies such as DuPont. The farmers claim bribes were exchanged in order for Monsanto to dominate the seed-production market until it held a monopoly over the industry and could fix prices. Monsanto denies any wrongdoing, claiming it makes no sense to partner with industry rivals and that it wouldn’t be economically strategic for other companies to hand over their lands to Monsanto for a small share of the profits. The judge presiding over the case has remained unconvinced by Monsanto’s defense arguments. Because nearly 98 percent of all soybean crops in the United States originate from Monsanto seeds, if this case continues, most of the soybean farmers could be claimants.
-- St. Louis Daily Record, 01/08/2007
Source URL: none
More than 90 Texas cotton farmers sued Monsanto, Bayer CropScience LP and Delta & Pine Land Co claiming the companies withheld information about a genetically engineered cotton product resulting in widespread crop loss. Citing a "longstanding campaign of deception," plaintiffs in the case allege that Monsanto's biotech Roundup Ready cotton did not withstand treatments of the Roundup weed killer as it was genetically designed to do. Farmers argue that Monsanto knew the product was defective when exposed to extremely hot and dry conditions, but the company failed to disclose such information.
-- Reuters, 02/27/2006
Source URL: none available
In January of 2005, Monsanto was fined $1.5 million by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The SEC claims Monsanto gave a $50,000 bribe to a high-level Indonesian Ministry of Environment official to overturn an environmental impact assessment law preventing the sale of bioengineered crops in Indonesia, which he subsequently did. Furthermore, the SEC stated that “…from 1997 to 2002, Monsanto inaccurately recorded, or failed to record, in its books and records approximately $700,000 of illegal of questionable payments made to various Indonesian government officials.”
-- SocialFunds.com, 08/26/2005
From 1998 to 2002 Monsanto gave a total of $95,500 in soft money contributions. In the 2002 election cycle alone, Monsanto gave $48,000 in soft money donations with $5,000 of that amount going to Democrats and the rest going to Republicans. This is more than double what it gave in the 2000 cycle, when Monsanto donated $22,500, all of which went to the Republican Party.
-- Center for Responsive Politics, 06/24/1905
Health and Safety
The EPA has released basic information about glyphosate, the most used herbicide in the United States and the active ingredient of Monsanto’s popular “Roundup” herbicidal product. This report was released in the context of water contamination as glyphosate can contaminate drinking water from agricultural run-off. The EPA has concluded, for now, that people who drink water contaminated with glyphosate in excess of the EPA’s set maximum containment level (MCL) for “many years” could experience kidney problems or reproductive difficulties. Water suppliers must notify their customers when local glyphosate levels are above the MCL only “as soon as practical, but no later than 30 days after the system learns of the violation.”
-- Environmental Protection Agency, 10/13/2010
Researchers from France’s University of Caen found that the inert compounds in Monsanto’s Roundup amplify the toxic impacts of Roundup. One inert ingredient, polyethoxylated tallowamine, or POEA was found to be more toxic than the actual herbicide to human embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells. As a result of the research, University of Caen molecular biologist Gilles-Eric Seralini believes that health agencies should reconsider the safety of Roundup.
-- Scientific American, 06/23/2009
In December 2008, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that an experimental, as yet unapproved variety of genetically engineered cottonseed developed by Monsanto had illegally entered the U.S. food system after an acre of the GE crop was harvested and allowed it to be mixed with approved animal feed, which in turn was fed to livestock.
-- Union of Concerned Scientists, 12/03/2008
The French agriculture ministry imposed a ban on Feb. 7, 2008, on the gene-altered seed, MON810, produced by the American seed company Monsanto. The Conseil d’Etat, despite appeals to overturn the ban by some farmers claiming economic harm, maintains the ban until the review of the product, conducted every 10 years, is completed by European authorities.
-- New York Times, 03/20/2008
A study conducted by researchers at Cornell University of nearly 500 Chinese cotton farmers called into question the sustainability of Monsanto’s genetically modified cotton (Bt cotton). The study showed that after seven years of planting Monsanto’s Bt cotton, pesticide use by the GM farmers was no lower than by conventional farmers. The toxins in Bt cotton are only effective against leaf-eating bollworms. The presence of other pests has actually increased, which necessitates farmers producing genetically modified crops to spray their crops with other pesticides up to 20 times a growing season. Additionally, farmers who produce genetically modified crops earned eight percent less than their conventional counterparts, as Bt cotton seeds are three times more expensive.
-- Chronicle Online, 07/25/2006
A coalition of farmers, environmental advocates and consumers filed a lawsuit against the Department of Agriculture (USDA) over Monsanto's genetically modified alfalfa seeds. Plaintiffs in the case allege that the USDA is allowing Monsanto to sell herbicide-resistant GMO alfalfa without first assessing the overall impacts of such a crop. According to Will Rastov, an attorney for Center for Food Safety, "The USDA failed to do a full environmental review when they deregulated this genetically engineered alfalfa. They're going to wreak untold dangers into the environment." Alfalfa is easily cross pollinated by the wind and bees, and plaintiffs worried that conventional crops will inevitably be contaminated by genetically modified crops, which would force farmers to pay Monsanto for the patented product. Environmental advocates also argue that Monsanto is marketing the biotech alfalfa in such a way that encourages the use of more herbicides than is typically required to cultivate alfalfa.
-- Planet Ark, 02/17/2006
In November of 2005, U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein dismissed a lawsuit against Monsanto, Dow Chemical and Hercules Inc., filed by Vietnamese citizens who suffered adverse health effects from the chemical Agent Orange. The judge stated that a direct relationship between Agent Orange and health problems experienced by the plaintiffs had not been sufficiently proven. Agent Orange was widely used to reduce jungle foliage and increase visibility for American troops fighting during the Vietnam War. The chemical contained dioxin, a known human carcinogen, and plaintiffs argued that Agent Orange was the cause of widespread birth defects, miscarriages and cancer. Vietnam's Association of Agent Orange insists that it will appeal the court's decision based on a 1984 settlement reached between the chemical companies and aggrieved Vietnam War veterans. The companies paid $180 million to veterans who argued their health had suffered as a result of handling Agent Orange.
-- BBC News, 11/03/2005
According to Greenpeace, a Washington, D.C.-based environmental advocacy group, Monsanto filed for patents on methods of breeding pigs and any resulting offspring. "If these patents are granted, Monsanto can legally prevent breeders and farmers from breeding pigs whose characteristics are described in the patent claims, or force them to pay royalties," says Christopher Then, the Greenpeace researcher who uncovered the patents.
-- Greenpeace, 08/02/2005
In 2003, Monsanto filed a lawsuit against Oakhurst Dairy of Portland, Maine, accusing the dairy of “misleading advertising” about the effects of bovine growth hormones. Oakhurst’s milk packaging labels read, “Our Farmers’ Pledge: No Artificial Growth Hormones,” which, according to Monsanto, carries the unsubstantiated implication that such hormones are unhealthy. Monsanto maintains that scientific evidence has yet to show any difference between milk from cows that are rBGH-free and those that are hormone-treated. Monsanto is the only producer of Prosilac, the bovine growth hormone.
-- Organic Consumers Association, 08/07/2003
Organic farmers in Canada filed a class-action lawsuit against Monsanto for conducting field trials of its Roundup Ready genetically engineered wheat in the Canadian “Prairie Provinces.” Test crops of Monsanto’s wheat were allegedly planted in locations unbeknownst to the public, and organic farmers fear that this could result in widespread contamination of natural wheat species and organic crops. Farmers are concerned that more than $170 million will be lost if the genetically engineered wheat crops are not contained.
-- Organic Consumers Association, 12/21/2002
Source URL: www.organicconsumers.org/ge/wheat011304.cfm
Monsanto was named one of the "Most Wanted Corporate Human Rights Violators of 2005" by Global Exchange, an organization that promotes social justice around the world.
-- Global Exchange, 06/27/1905
A report commissioned by the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) and the International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF) states that thousands of children aged fourteen and younger are used as laborers on hybrid cotton farms in Andhra Pradesh, India. The children, primarily girls, are made to work long hours and are exposed to toxic pesticides and hazardous conditions. Monsanto, Syngenta, Advanta and Bayer were among the corporations implicated as having overlooked the child labor abuses.
"The Price of Childhood: On the Link Between Prices Paid to Farmers and the Use of Child Labour in Cottonseed Production in Andhra Pradesh, India."
-- India Committee of the Netherlands, 10/01/2005
Source URL: none available