Introduction and Corporate Claims The purpose of this paper is to analyze and ask important questions in order to interpret corporate claims. In order to do this, we must first look at the big picture and analyze it from a different perspective. For example, let’s look at Monsanto; a corporation that claims to feed people around the world. While this is true on some account, they also forget to mention the other half of their business practices (which I will discuss later in the critical analysis).
In addition, I will also examine their website and explain the ways they market their product to vulnerable/hungry people around low income countries. So, who and what is Monsanto? What do they do? To begin, let’s discuss what Monsanto is and what they do. Monsanto is a large-scale corporation that manufactures genetically modified seeds that they then sell to farmers from around the world. Monsanto also sells chemicals and pesticides that work with said genetically modified seeds producing bigger yields with less land usage.
Monsanto owns and patents these seeds and chemicals and sells them to farmers; but due to the effects of these chemicals being used, it has created superpests and superweeds, often times leading to the spreading of more chemicals that farmers have to purchase from Monsanto in order to “kill” these pests. Monsanto’s website claims that they are “taking action to fight climate change” (Monsanto. com). Climate change is a very crucial issue that affects the whole planet due to greenhouse gases being trapped in the inner most layer of ozone.
Monsanto also claims that they are collaborating with “government agencies, foundations, and aid groups to provide the opportunity for food security for resourcepoor farmers in Africa. ” Next to this claim, they have South African children in the background smiling because of Monsanto’s “contribution” to the region (Monsanto. com). Africa has been recipients of food aid for many years due to civil wars, famine(s), and natural disasters that have devastated the region historically.
Also, located on the homepage of the Monsanto website, are a few links to “inclusion and diversity” and their solutions to “better farming practices. ” Monsanto sells their products to countries that are impoverished and offer contractual agreements with small farmers to help feed their families. This helps small scale farmers who don’t have the resources initially to then enter into this contract with hopes to plant Monsanto seeds, Monsanto equipment, and Monsanto weed-killing products (Monsanto. com).
This in turn, helps these farmers to produce bigger and/or better yields due to Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds that are created via the laboratory with cutting edge technological advances in science. Lastly, Monsanto’s 2016 annual report claims that they are “making limited resources work for over 9 billion people” (Monsanto. com). What do they mean by this? While looking into their 118 page 2016 annual report listed on their website, they discuss a lot of their claims from their homepage but from a profit motive perspective from their chief executive officer, Hugh Grant.
Hugh Grant discusses Monsanto’s challenges and says in the report “we are entering a new era in agriculture-one in which growers are demanding new solutions and technologies to be more profitable and to be more sustainable” (Grant, 2016). So, as you can see, Monsanto’s corporate rhetoric is simple; let’s help farmers grow more with less and let’s make a profit while doing it. Now that we have analyzed Monsanto’s corporate claims from their website, let’s evaluate and investigate claims made by their most famous critic, Greenpeace International, and their claims in regards to Monsanto’s business practices.
NGO Position What is an NGO? According to NGO. org, an NGO is a nongovernmental agency that is any nonprofit, voluntary citizens group that perform a number of services and humanitarian functions, while monitoring policies and ensuring governments and corporations are held accountable for actions against humanity and or the planet (ngo. org). The NGO that I chose in this discourse analysis is Greenpeace International. Greenpeace International is an independent global organization that challenges large scale corporations in order to protect the environment from further degradation (greenpeace. rg). Watchdog organizations like Greenpeace make it possible for the public to have news and information on corporate practices. When you visit Greenpeace International’s website, you can see the various stories that they have conducted to hold Monsanto accountable for their actions. For instance, I found an article on their page that mentioned that Monsanto’s weedkiller “Roundup” that contains a chemical that causes cancer(greenpeace. org).
Greenpeace also works with other agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure that these assessments are conducted, and that the public is aware of the harmful effects that Monsanto has had on humans and the environment (greenpeace. org). I then looked up the chemical that was cancerous; glyphosate. Glyphosate is a carcinogen that is used in Round-up; according to Greenpeace, Round-up accounted for one-third of Monsanto’s profit in 2015 (greenpeace. org).
Greenpeace and the WHO and other NGO’s are trying to stop Monsanto from destroying the planet by investigating the corporate practices that are conducted by Monsanto and other corporations by communicating with legislators and conducting online petitions (greenpeace. org). When I looked on their website, I found a plethora of online petitions and lots of background information regarding Monsanto’s business practices (greenpeace. org). Greenpeace has a huge global arm that spans across all parts of the world, and as I investigated more into their website, I learned quite a bit about the solutions to Monsanto and other major corporations.
Since Greenpeace International has been involved so heavily with Monsanto’s violations of the environment in their website, what other counter-claims does Greenpeace offer in regards to Monsanto? Greenpeace also discusses their counter-claim to Monsanto’s stance on human rights. Greenpeace Internationals website also discusses Monsanto’s violation of human rights and how they exploit underprivileged farmers in third world countries and con them into signing up for farming contracts in order to hook them in for a bigger profit motives, instead of sustainability for these farmers and their families (greenpeace. com).
Greenpeace even goes onto suggest that this is a form of modern day slavery since these farmers are essentially indentured servants that end up with high amounts of debt that accumulates, causing farmers to often times commit suicide as a result. Additionally, Greenpeace has a quick 4-minute video regarding Monsanto and genetically modified crops (youtube. com). This video claim that genetically modified seeds cause more harm than they do good, because outside of a lab, they are no longer controlled as they often spread to other fields controlled by farmers that do not want these genetically engineered crops in their fields (youtube. om). This causes Monsanto genetically engineered (GE) seeds to contaminate fields (that were absent of Monsanto GE seeds) leading to a “dependence” on these GE seeds since they have already contaminated the field that previously did not contain Monsanto seeds. Critical Analysis Now that I have discussed Monsanto’s corporate claim and Greenpeace International’s perspective, I am going to critically analyze the two positions.
On one hand, Monsanto’s website claims that they are on the right side of all the issues from human rights, climate change, inclusion and diversity, and “growing better together” (Monsanto. com). Historically, Monsanto has never been on the right side of these issues and has never supported any of these causes. Monsanto has also been in the limelight of activists for many years due to their harmful and repulsive business practices against small scale farmers, especially in countries that are underprivileged and low socioeconomic status.
Due to this negative publicity throughout the years, Monsanto’s “corporate claims” of helping farmers and malnourished children in Africa have obviously fell short, due to strong corporate lobbying and corporate control of the seed market. Moreover, upon further inspection of Monsanto’s corporate website, you see pictures of healthy, ready-to-eat food on a counter for a family that’s ready to eat breakfast (Monsanto. com). But after all that has been said so far from activist-groups like Greenpeace, why does Monsanto’s website look like they care about healthy food?
Additionally, why does Monsanto claim that they care about human rights on their website? If Monsanto claims that they care about human rights, then why do they go after farmers in India and other underprivileged countries that are trying to feed their families? | found it very disturbing that their website claims that they are on the right side of the issues when it comes to human rights, but on the other hand they go after small-scale farmers in these countries and trick these farmers into using Monsanto products.
Accordingly, when analyzing their website, you instantly see right away their corporate stance on feeding hungry kids in Africa. Their statement says that they are “taking action to prevent climate change” and they are collaborating with government agencies to “provide the opportunity for food security for resource-poor in Africa. ” You can also see happy African children next to their corporate rhetoric, but they also fail to tell the other side of their corporate wrongdoings.
For instance, Monsanto fails to acknowledge their power and control of the seed market, making it literally impossible for farmers to plant anything other than Monsanto seeds in certain cases. I literally just navigated throughout their business page and noticed how not only are they trying to cater to the family, the farmer, children, climate change, and human rights. I was definitely surprised to say the least the positive impact that they are having on all of these topics that they have been criticized in the past for by activists and NGOs from around the world.
After critical analysis of both Monsanto and Greenpeace’s claims of human rights, climate change, inclusion/diversity, healthy/ equitable access to food, etc. , I have come to the conclusion, that, while Monsanto advertised these topics on their corporate website, behind the scenes they do not add up. Had it not been for watchdog groups like Greenpeace International and other activist websites, I would not have seen the past and present hypocrisy of Monsanto’s business practices.
On the other hand, Greenpeace International’s claims against Monsanto’s GE seeds are kind of inconclusive, due to the fact that the scientific community hasn’t had strong evidence, and, they haven’t been studied very long in order to use against these corporations, which makes it even harder to prove Greenpeace’s claims against Monsanto overall. However, these long-term impacts of Monsanto and other corporate practices must be analyzed and studied; we must hold these corporations accountable and prevent any further and incurring damage to the planet, loved ones, and our future!