Shareholders and stakeholders of Monsanto should start wondering about where their money lies, where it’s actually going, and if it will last. While the world is left largely in the dark about safety risks and labeling, some of Monsanto’s shareholders are just as closed off from the reality of their investment risks from the company’s damaging business practices and spending.
A resolution re-filed by Harrington Investments, Inc (HII) asked Monsanto’s Board of Directors to prepare a report assessing the actual and potential financial risks posed to their shareholders by GMO operations. Everything from the cost of anti-GMO labeling campaigns to the devastating fallout from revelations of crop contamination hitting farmers across the globe and legal spending to aggressively pur”sue” small farmers for patent infringement.
HII is calculating the sum total of Monsanto’s actions calling it a “corporate empire” financially committed to denial.
Monsanto increasingly keeps stakeholders in the dark, about the true financial risks of GMOs.
Crop contamination is wreaking havoc on people’s livelihoods, and we’ve seen reports that GMO’s are in 75% of our food supply. The corporation spends an incredible amount of shareholder money to prevent American consumers from knowing the extent to which it controls our national food supply.
Harrington has every reason to warn investors. It realizes that:
- Recent polls show more than 90% of Americans want to know if their food contains GMO’s and want the option to consume non-GMO products.
- GMO products are currently banned or restricted in over 60 countries.
- More than half of the U.S. states are trying to prepare labeling laws.
- Monsanto is spending tens of millions of dollars in anti-labeling campaign efforts.
- More than $15 million in just California and Washington alone.
- Monsanto lobbying spending is more than any other entity in the industry – $6 million annually.
- US wheat sales to Japan and Korea were recently rejected after rogue Monsanto GMOs were found growing among non-modified export crops in the US Northwest.
Add to that the hundreds of millions spent in legal fees chasing after small farmers whose land is unwillingly contaminated with Monsanto products, and the millions farmers are spending to protect themselves, and you have a corporate empire financially committed to denying the reality of what’s happened to our food supply
But Monsanto said “nay” to the Resolution, falling back on already existing laws for corporations and responsibility in disclosure. The company says that Resolution “would be redundant and provide no meaningful additional information to shareowners.”
Harrington persists, noting that corporate disclosure documents do not adequately inform shareholders, stock analysts or rating agencies of the numerous risks facing the company.
I think the end of the GMO-secrecy campaign will be here sooner rather than later. We have farmers heading to the Supreme Court taking on Monsanto’s bullying tactics; we have farmers who don’t even plant crops for fear of contamination; and we have farmers who are afraid that in the near future we won’t even have non-GMO seeds to plant.
The momentum is clearly turning against Monsanto, and I think the company owes the shareholders a detailed explanation of what this is really costing the bottom line
HII is a 30-year-old registered investment advisory firm managing approximately $180 million in assets. The firm engages in shareholder advocacy and challenges corporate management on key social, environmental, and corporate governance policies. They believe that corporations and investors that embrace the reality of growing demand for social responsibility will be best positioned to prosper in the 21st Century.
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