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Monsanto Joins World Business Council for Sustainable Development

Monsanto has joined the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and is offering the WBCSD’s Business Ecosystems Training (BET) course globally for employees, according to the agribusiness company.

Monsanto says the BET course will enhance employees’ understanding of the links between ecosystems and business.

The UN expects the global population to reach 9 billion by 2050, which will mean farmers will need to grow 70 percent more food by that time, and demand for water from agriculture will likely rise from 70 percent in 2012 to at least 89 percent by 2050.

This will also put increasing strains on land and ecosystem services. Agriculture depends on healthy ecosystems for services such as pollination for nearly 75 percent of the world’s crop species, as well as fresh water, erosion control and climate and water regulation, according to an Environmental Leader column by DuPont’s Amanda DeSantis and World Resources Institute’s Janet Ranganathan.

WBCSD and Monsanto say the growing population requires new agriculture systems and products that are more productive and more sustainable. To this end, in addition to joining WBCSD, Monsanto is a member of Field to Market, which has developed a free online Fieldprint Calculator to help growers analyze how their farming practices impact natural resources. The company also reduced its direct greenhouse gas emissions 2.5 percent and fresh water consumption 2.1 percent compared to 2010 levels, according to its most recent corporate social responsibility and sustainability report.

However, Monsanto took 498th place in the Newsweek Green Rankings for 2012, an annual environmental ranking of the 500 largest publicly traded companies in the world. Newsweek said the company lacks fixed targets for emissions, waste and water. Its CSR report, in line with GRI Level C guidelines, has not been externally verified.

The company is often surrounded by controversy – not only for being a leading producer of genetically engineered seeds, but also for its seed patenting model, which critics say has pushed farmers into debt.

In joining WBCSD, Monsanto is taking a step toward more sustainable agriculture, WBCSD president Peter Bakker said.

Some 200 companies, including Dow Chemical, General Electric, the Coca-Cola Company and UPS are WBCSD members. The organization says its member companies represent all business sectors and all continents, and have a combined revenue of more than $7 trillion.

In November 2012, the WBSCD along with the Prince of Wales’ Corporate Leaders Group on Climate and the International Emissions Trading Association called on policymakers to develop a clear, transparent and unambiguous global carbon price to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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7 thoughts on “Monsanto Joins World Business Council for Sustainable Development

  1. …. If I were to write in regard to this article and had a font size that reached a billion, it would still not be big enough to write a statement regarding what extraordinary greenwashers Monstanto and it’s subsidiaries are.

  2. To echo nikki’s comment, why would we consider trusting anything being presented in this article when the article itself casts the doubt.

    “However, Monsanto took 498th place in the Newsweek Green Rankings for 2012, an annual environmental ranking of the 500 largest publicly traded companies in the world. Newsweek said the company lacks fixed targets for emissions, waste and water. Its CSR report, in line with GRI Level C guidelines, has not been externally verified.”

    And will the GMO lawsuits against farmers be dropped now?

    “In joining WBCSD, Monsanto is taking a step toward more sustainable agriculture, WBCSD president Peter Bakker said.”

    the past of this company must be considered. the walk they have walked for decades, from PCBs to GMO, is deplorable.

  3. I hardly see how this is good for the WBSCD. Call me cynical but sounds more like a Borg style campaign of infiltrate and assimilate

  4. This story highlights one of the big dilemmas facing those of us working for change. Do we work with those whom we know to be part of the problem?
    How many concessions does Monsanto have to make before we are willing to take seriously their gestures in the direction of environmental stewardship? The cynical interpretation of Monsanto’s move is an easy pitch. They make a lot of noise publishing superficial and relatively low-cost expressions of concern for global issues, so as to distract our attention from their main strategy of cornering global markets in agricultural inputs, GM and seed conservation. It is harder to espouse the interpretation that they are genuinely wrestling with the problems of feeding the world, from a social benefit point of view. Is there anyone out there (other than Monsanto employees or retained lobbyists) brave enough to make this case for Monsanto as a sincere seeker of sustainable innovation?

    Well, if we think about it, the answer has to be: Yes. There are two parties in this story – Monsanto and the WBCSD. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development is funded by its corporate members, who pay Peter Bakker’s salary along with the rest of the staff (not very numerous, and mostly dedicated and hard-working in my experience). So by implication the other 200+ corporate members of the WBCSD are tacitly voting for Monsanto to join them. Just as they voted for Tepco (before the Fukushima incident) and Syngenta, amongst many others that Greenpeace and WWF have thick files on. Is the WBCSD a lobby group for business, in the cynical sense of protecting the Business-as-usual model while operating a think-tank publishing house on green growth and sustainability? Or is it a pioneering visionary institute promoting the development of a truly sustainable society in which business plays a full and decisive role (Vision 2050)? A research institute exploring possible futures for sober consumption in a regenerative economy (one of its major current projects)?
    The risk of the cynical (‘realist’) reflex is that we will have very, very few people we can talk to and work with. The risk of the naive (‘face value’) interpretation is that we will not challenge the underlying current model, so its proponents will never need to either. Accepting and living with this dilemma, and allowing both interpretations to be true at the same time, is the key to finding our way forward.

  5. We already produce enough food to feed 10 Billion people. 70% more farmland! This is a preposterous lie to further the greed of these multinational seed chemical phrama products and systems that are now making America one of the least healthy nations among all developed nations.

  6. Monsanto is EVIL as are Dow Chemical and Coca-Cola companies. It’s called population control by slowly killing us. It has already been proven that GMO crops yield less, destroy the soil, kill the pollinators, and cause tumors and a host of diseases. It’s all about making $ for them and the earth and our children will suffer the consequences. Stand up and get involved- demand labeling of this POISON they call food.

  7. Jacob Mayne, your comment is sadly lacking of all science. To convince anyone about their objectives being anything else than business as usual they would simply had to change their product approach and put their efforts on other things than DDT, agent orange, round up or other future nature-killing products. If they honestly want to be called sustainable. Stop using many words to cast smokescreens.

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