What is Monsanto Hiding from its Shareholders?

Occupy Monsanto

Monsanto, the world’s largest manufacturer of chemical pesticides and genetically modified seeds, has come under attack for secretive methods used in public shareholder meetings, reports Yahoo.

The company’s forthcoming Annual Shareholder Meeting, scheduled for January 31, 2013, has a ban on cameras from the proceedings. This particular meeting will include a vote on a proposal for a study of “material financial risks or operational impacts” associated with the company’s controversial products.

“Monsanto pledges transparency, but provides very little,” says Adam Eidinger, an organic food activist and Monsanto shareholder who organized a 2011 protest march from New York City to Washington DC to promote the need for labeling of foods containing genetically modified. At the meeting, Eidinger plans to present a shareholder resolution on behalf of Napa, California-based Harrington Investments with help from the Pesticide Action Network of North America.

The Monsanto website includes a section on a page titled “Our Pledge,” which states: “Transparency: We will ensure that information is available, accessible, and understandable.” But, that’s not the case, according to Eidinger,  who was forced to sneak a hidden camera into last year’s shareholder meeting, “I shouldn’t be required to break the rules in order to uphold Monsanto Company’s pledge of transparency,” says Eidinger. “By keeping cameras out of their Annual Shareholder Meeting, Monsanto is not fulfilling its pledge to shareholders who are unable to attend, the majority of Americans who are eating the products created by Monsanto Company’s patented technology, farmers who are keen to know about future plans of their seed & herbicide provider, and members of the media who report on the company.”

Anti-GMO protests are scheduled to occur outside of the shareholder’s meeting.

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. www.jillettinger.com.