9 Financial Risks of Doing Business with Monsanto
Can the company's negative image truly be fixed?
An agricultural, biotech giant, Monsanto has become ‘more vulnerable than ever,’ largely due to having an unnaturally-intense poor public image. In recent times, the company has seen successive stock drops and weaker sales of its biotech-created corn and the best-selling herbicide, Roundup. The company had to report falling profits again and again, slashing jobs.
One Huffington Post writer says that Monsanto is “notorious for being litigious, secretive and combative with critics who question its products or seemingly unscrupulous practices.” The company has been shown to be a bad investment for those who were counting on huge profits from one of the biggest players in the industry.
Now, without ignoring the fact that Monsanto is one of the biggest companies around, raking in literally billions of dollars from sales every year, I’ve outlined 9 reasons to stay away from Monsanto if you don’t want to ‘lose your shirt.’
1. A Potential Cancer-Connection
The World Health Organization’s cancer research agency has published a full report on glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide, and called it “a probable human carcinogen.” Since that announcement in March 2015, several countries, cities, and retail chains worldwide have banned or severely limited the use of glyphosate products. As of October 2015, at least 700 personal injury non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma lawsuits were pending against Monsanto. More are publicized every day.
However, it isn’t conclusive even in the scientific community that glyphosate is cancer-causing. In fact, other organizations claim that it is unlikely to cause cancer
A joint committee of experts from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization said:
“In view of the absence of carcinogenic potential in rodents at human-relevant doses and the absence of genotoxicity by the oral route in mammals, and considering the epidemiological evidence from occupational exposures, the meeting concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet.”
The real problem for Monsanto, though, is that their product is still perceived by the public (at the very least) to be toxic and harmful.
2. Liability will be Ongoing…for Decades
Monsanto’s liability for making glyphosate may persist long into the future. The herbicide can be detected for decades in many types of soil, and GMO contamination self-propagates in the gene pool and cannot be fully eradicated. Glyphosate has also been found in human blood, urine, and breast milk.
3. Monsanto Legally Fighting PCB Contamination
Monsanto is not only being sued for glyphosate’s toxicity, but also for the creation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) since 1976. PCB pollution has caused almost every waterway in the US to be compromised, harming marine life and surrounding ecosystems. A rash of lawsuits against Monsanto has arisen and there will likely be more.
Most recently, St. Louis Circuit Court awarded $17.5 million in damages to the three plaintiffs and assessed an additional $29 million in punitive damages against Monsanto, Solutia, Pharmacia and Pfizer, the St. Louis Dispatch reported.
4. Roundup Sales are Dropping
Reports indicate that sales of Roundup are dropping, and so are sales of Roundup-ready crops. GE corn, soy, and cotton developed by Monsanto to withstand copious spraying of the herbicide constitute 90 percent of their revenue.
As more people catch wind of the scientific evidence proving that these crops have significant health impacts on humans, then Monsanto will likely continue to lose profits. Farmers are also realizing that Monsanto’s promises about these crops may have been empty. They’ve had to deal with super weeds and super bugs like never before.
5. Organic Crops Surpassing GMO Crops
Farmers are seeing evidence of GM crop failure not just by growing the patented seeds, but also in their livestock, that is, according to Non-GMO report. Numerous farmers who switch to non-GMO feed report improved livestock health and increased profits. If these claims are continually validated, Monsanto may lose its largest GMO market and perhaps become liable for cumulative losses from an entire industry.
6. GMOs are Creating Superbugs and Superweeds
Super bugs and super weeds linked to Monsanto’s Roundup Ready and Bt crops are taking over agricultural lands across the world. More than 300 million acres worldwide are suffering from these secondary causes of planting Monsanto’s GM seed. As insects are developing resistance to Roundup, Monsanto and other companies are developing and marketing even more chemicals to people who are growing weary of this agricultural paradigm.
7. People Don’t Want GMOs, or at LEAST Support GMO Labeling
Both European and American food makers are ditching GMOs due to consumer demand. One poll found that 80% of respondents considered non-GM food healthier and would pay more for organic, non-GM food. Sales of non-GM food have already grown to more than $10 billion and are expected to keep climbing. Can Monsanto continue to stay financially viable in a world that doesn’t want their products?
8. Politics will Change. Whistleblowing will Happen.
For example, the FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael Taylor was a former Vice President for Public Policy at Monsanto, and current USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack was chair of the Governors Biotechnology Partnership and was named Governor of the Year by the Biotechnology Industry Organization.
Politics change. People tell the truth eventually.
9. Monsanto is Heavily Disliked by the General Public
Monsanto has actually been called one of the ‘most hated companies in the world.’ Millions have marched against them, and many say they have been bullied by them in court. When a company obtains a reputation to falsely influence science, there will be negative presence. Any company with this kind of public reputation will undoubtedly face some hurdles.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “it takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.