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Monsanto

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Communications in Business
Critical Essay
Monsanto

A Review of Performance of Monsanto
On Genetic Modified Planets to Environment and Mankind

Boyang Xu
16004593
Semester Two 2012
Bentley Campus
Tutor: Wisdom Jo
Tutorial Time: Thursday 14:00-16:00 Email: xby_remind@msn.cn

The past century saw huge changes in the business world. The challenge of business is changing rapidly over time. Nowadays, companies are attaching greater importance to their Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) instead of focusing on seeking greatest profits only. Customers are becoming more and more concerned with large multinational companies' performance in respective of their social responsible manner,especially those multinational companies such as Monsanto.The Monsanto Company is an American based multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation,the world's leading producer of the Genetically Modified seeds (Monsanto, 2012a) This paper will review the social performance of Monsanto's various products to mankind, and analyze the impact of these performances on two key stakeholders: the communities Monsanto conducting business operations in and shareholders of the company. An on-balance conclusion about the company's performance in society will be provided at last.
With regard to its social performance, Monsanto has always been devoted to the sustainable development of human beings. People around the world rely heavily on agriculture and the farmers working hard to satisfy their most basic needs. With the booming of global population in the past few decades,it is necessary that agriculture become more productive and more sustainable in order to keep pace with ever-lasting increasing demands. The contributions that Monsanto made on agriculture are obvious. The company equipes farmers with newly developed technologies and new application methods of grain, fiber and feed to help them improve volume of production and get bigger profit. Monsanto's enhanced yield come from a combination of advanced plant breeding,biotechnology,and improved farm-management practices. Moreover, this has been done with one-third fewer resources such as land,water,and energy per unit produced and less agriculture's impact on our environment. In its mission statements, Monsanto clearly describes the company's aim to balance between the improvement of yields crops and environmental friendly. In 2009, Monsanto opened the Water Utilization Learning Centre in Gothenburg, Nebraska, which is a facility that focuses on maintaining or ultimating crop products by minimizing the crop’s water use (Monsanto 2009a).In addition, Monsanto set up a $10 million Beachell-Borlaug International Scholarship Program to support young scientists who are interested in applying plant breeding technologies to promote the research and production of rice and wheat, two of the world's most important crops (Monsanto 2012b). Moreover,in 2012,Monsanto committed that it would donate $50 million dollars to subsidize African agricultural sustainable development in the next ten years.Monsanto is actively seeking cooperating opportunities with peasants, private enterprises, government agencies and community groups. One illustration is its supporting African food and nutrition safety and the agriculture development promise.These cooperations stimulated African agriculture development and innovation and strengthened the whole value chain of African agriculture (Monsanto 2012c).As a results of these programs, thousands of farmers enriched their agricultural knowledge, thus achieving higher crops yields. Consequently, the farmers improved a lot of their standard of livings, from poverty to prosperity. Besides, because of the yields growth, consumers have benefited a lot from the decrease of crops prices. Moreover,the shareholders of Monsanto will benefit to exploit potential customers and the company will build reputation. As a result, the company will win a good reputation of social responsible, this will increase shareholder wealth due to the increased profits gaining from potential customers.
Apart from building agriculture facilities and donating money to aid poor areas, Monsanto company also invested a lot of money and manpower in its Genetic Modified Organism(GMO) products,which is the core product of Monsanto. Acting as the leader in Genetic Engineering field,Monsanto pioneered in changing plant cell gene in human's history in 1982 and established Monsanto Hybridity Seed International Company.(Monsanto 2012d) "Today, Monsanto has become the largest Genetic Modified seed company all around the world and provided a wide variety of Genetic Modified products such as corn,soybeans,cotton and rape these four kinds of crop. Genetic Modified crops are indeed better than normal crops in many aspects such as higher crop yields, more nutritious food, more resistant to pests thus eliminating the use of potentially hazardous pesticides, etc"(Arnold 2011). One of its greatest success stories is Genetically Modified soybean grown and sold in Argentina. It is claimed that soy production had increased by 75% and yields increased by 173% over five years before 2002(Monsanto 2012e). Monsanto occupied 70%-100% market share of crop seed and dominates world's genetically modified seeds market, taking up 90% of the market share.That is to say, by selling its Genetic Modified Organism seed all over the world and increasing the yield of Genetic Modified crop, Monsanto is closing to achieve its goal of helping farmers solve food shortage and energy growing demand problem. In some large-population developing and undeveloped countries such as China, India ,Argentina and African countries, Genetic Modified crop help them resolve the increasingly serious food crisis. Monsanto made a profit at least cost for their shareholder, and at the same time solved the problem of global hunger and agriculture pesticide misuse.
On the other side,unfortunately,Genetic Modified plants which provided by Monsanto are not as good as it described and so does the company itself. Monsanto was not an agriculture company at the very beginning. In the twentieth century, it was one of the largest chemical enterprises. Its flagship products Roundup was one of the world"s most famous glyphosate herbicides. Somebody criticized that: the company is making the biochemical crisis from film into reality.
One of the most notorious case in twenties century is the POSILAC,a kind of recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) produced by Monsanto,which can increase milk diary product by 20% if injected into cows(Robin 2008). But in 1990,an academic research written by Samuel Epstein and Pete Hardin indicated that there are some significant physical changes in the cows which accept hormone injection.(Samuel Epstein,Pete Hardin 2007) and some other test results show that the experimental animals had a serious reproductive problems. But then,Monsanto security affairs department Lisa.Watson argues that:any medical and health institutions to cattle growth hormone testing all prove that it is completely safe for consumers. Monsanto not only considered that rBGH is harmless to consumers,but also have some merits. Monsanto pointed out:the chemical composition of milk do not have any changes as a result of POSILAC,so milk production attribute and taste will not have any change.(Robin 2008). However,it is not the truth.Epstein pointed out that the defense and publicity is a panic speech.rBGH cause the cows have high rate breast cancer, milk mixed with pus, and then use other antibiotics to cure breast cancer.various kinds of antibiotics retained in the milk. In addition, the most important is the milk will find that there are a lot of "insulin-like growth factor 1"(IGF1) exists. Back to the 1960s, by many research shows that the IGF1 to human breast cancer,colorectal cancer and prostate cancer occurred are directly related(Samuel Epstein,Peter Hardin 2007).Monsanto tries to cover the real facts of the event by using spin doctoring method which ignores the rights of consumers to know the truth and puts the consumers' health in danger in order to protect shareholder's profits and business reputation.
Another typical case is that Monsanto deliberately concealed the truth about the side effect of Roundup. Many scientific surveys found that Roundup has a very high toxicity. For example,professor Robert Belle found that Roundup can cause the error of cells division. Professor Robert Belle figures out that:"To our big surprise, Roundup affected the oocyte split. We found that Roundup play a role in the key process of cell divisions".(Robert Belle 2005) We should understand how cancer occurred.This is the first example found that Roundup cause cell variation, which indicates that Roundup may stimulate the first stage of cell carcinoma. Therefore, we must be alerted to its disastrous influence on the consumer.
In these cases,Monsanto disregards the health of consumers. The company knew the side effects of their products in the very beginning,but in order to more profit, it chose hide the truth to the public. Even when the truth went public,Monsanto was trying to eliminate the influence through spin doctoring rather than confess their fault. It is quite clear that the motivation of Monsanto behind the event is minimizing the losses and maximizing shareholder wealth. In the long-term, however, shareholder value will be damaged as long as the facts go to public. This will engender even huger losses for the company as a whole.
In conclusion, Monsanto has exerted unfavorable influences on local communities and its shareholder despite the achievements it made. Admittedly,Monsanto’s efforts to improve agriculture using genetic engineering technology are adorable, but it is unacceptable that the company seeks improvement with sacrifice of food safety and human health. What concerns Monsanto is understandable as if the public discover that the new product is defined unsafe,potential users will be lost,even worse, millions of dollars will be lost at the same time. The company hiding the truth through spin doctoring and making the consumers' health in danger is immoral and must be strictly forbidden. Monsanto will pay a heavy price for what it has done badly to the public interests. That Monsanto chasing for profits for shareholders at the cost of other stakeholders benefits is a serious breaching of implicit social contract. Monsanto needs to make greater efforts on improving their performance on agricultural product for the benefits of human health. The company's management is also responsible for directing Monsanto in the right course to fulfill its corporate social responsibility.

Reference:

Monsanto. 2009a Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program. Accessed August 8 http://www.monsanto.com/ourcommitments/Pages/beachell-borlaug-international-scholars-program.aspx. Monsanto. 2009b Today's Monsanto Company. Accessed August 8, http://www.monsanto.com/whoweare/Pages/monsanto-history.aspx. Monsanto 2012a http://web.mit.edu/demoscience/Monsanto/players.html Monsanto. 2012b. Accessed May 12 http://www.monsanto.com.au/. Monsanto. 2012c By Alexis Baden-Mayer, Esq., Political Director Organic Consumers Association, May 23, 2012 http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_25508.cfm Monsanto. 2012d http://bestmeal.info/monsanto/company-history.shtml/ Monsanto. 2012e soyabean in Argentina http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_monsanto01.htm Arnold, Paul. 2011. Benefits and Risks of Genetic Engineering.Accessed August 7, http://www.brighthub.com/science/genetics/articles/15678.aspx. Samuel Epstein, Pete Hardin 2007. “…Because Fda Says It’s Safe?” FDA’s long-ago “human safety” precepts for Monsanto’s biotechcow growth hormone appear defective.The Milkweed.Accessed August 7, http://www.themilkweed.com/Feature_07_Sep.pdf Belle,Robert.2005 New evidence of dangers of Roundup weedkiller. Third World Resurgence No. 176 Apr 2005 http://www.biosafety-info.net/article.php?aid=267

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