Harrington Investments, Inc. (HII) has re-filed a shareholder
resolution calling for the Monsanto Corporation (MON) to disclose the
real financial risks to shareholders and other stakeholders for
producing genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) over the past two
“Monsanto increasingly keeps stakeholders in the dark, about the true
financial risks of GMOs,” said John Harrington, President/CEO of HII.
“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.”
The resolution specifically asks Monsanto’s Board of Directors to
prepare a report assessing the actual and potential financial risks
posed by the company’s GMO operations, from the cost of anti-GMO
labeling campaigns to the devastating fallout of crop contamination
hitting farmers around the world.
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.
And while 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. The annual $6 million Monsanto spends lobbying is
more than any other entity in the industry.
“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,” Harrington continued.
In the company’s proxy statement opposing the Resolution, Monsanto
stated the corporation already complies with laws addressing a
corporation’s responsibility to disclose financial risk to
shareholders. According to Monsanto, preparing the risk report HII is
calling for “would be redundant and provide no meaningful additional
information to shareowners.”
Harrington disagrees, noting 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,” Harrington said. “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
GMO products are currently banned or restricted in over 60
countries. US wheat sales to Japan and Korea were recently rejected
after a rogue Monsanto GMO was found growing among non-modified export
crops in the US Northwest.
“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,” Harrington concluded.
Harrington Investments, Inc is a 30-year old registered investment
advisory firm based in the Napa Valley, California, managing
approximately $180 million in assets. The firm manages individual and
institutional accounts utilizing a comprehensive social and
environmental screen, while engaging in shareholder advocacy,
challenging corporate management on key social, environmental, and
corporate governance policies.