Eight Ways Monsanto Fails at Sustainable Agriculture
Union of Concerned Scientists
Monsanto Company is the dominant player in commercial genetically engineered (GE) crops, the biggest seed company in the world, and—to hear them tell it—a leader and innovator in sustainable agriculture.
Monsanto aggressively touts its technology as vital to achieving laudable goals such as ensuring adequate food production, responding to the challenge of global warming, and reducing agriculture's negative impacts on the environment.
The reality is not so flattering. In fact, Monsanto has held back the development of sustainable agriculture, and continues to do so, in several ways:
#1: Promoting Pesticide Resistance
Monsanto's RoundupReady and Bt technologies lead to resistant weeds and insects that can make farming harder and reduce sustainability.
#2: Increasing Herbicide Use
Roundup resistance has led to greater use of herbicides, with troubling implications for biodiversity, sustainability, and human health.
#3: Spreading Gene Contamination
Engineered genes have a bad habit of turning up in non-GE crops. And when this happens, sustainable farmers—and their customers—pay a high price.
#4: Expanding Monoculture
Monsanto's emphasis on limited varieties of a few commodity crops contributes to reduced biodiversity and, as a consequence, to increased pesticide use and fertilizer pollution.
#5: Marginalizing Alternatives
Monsanto's single-minded emphasis on GE fixes for farming challenges may come at the expense of cheaper, more effective solutions.
#6: Lobbying and Advertising
Monsanto outspends all other agribusinesses on efforts to persuade Congress and the public to maintain the industrial agriculture status quo.
#7: Suppressing Research
By creating obstacles to independent research on its products, Monsanto makes it harder for farmers and policy makers to make informed decisions that can lead to more sustainable agriculture.
#8: Falling Short on Feeding the World
Monsanto contributes little to helping the world feed itself, and has failed to endorse science-backed solutions that don't give its products a central role.
To Read Detailed Entries on Each of the Eight Reasons and Access More Resources