I researched your question, and have answered each concern individually:
- I am not aware any situation in which Monsanto has been convicted of fraud. However, I would be happy to look into this allegation again if you can provide more specific information.
- Monsanto also has not been convicted of bribery. However, we did find suspect payments to a consultant in connection with his interaction with a government official during an internal audit of our business in Indonesia around 2003. The employee involved in that incident is no longer an employee. Monsanto reported these findings to the U.S. Department of Justice and then commissioned an exhaustive third-party audit that resulted in Monsanto entering into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the U.S. Government. The Government appointed a corporate monitor, and after three years of intensive effort to build a best practices Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) program, the government was satisfied our program would assure that similar actions would not happen in the future and no further action was taken. Monsanto strictly prohibits bribery and maintains dedicated people who focus on the diligence necessary to monitor and mitigate these risks in every region where we conduct business. Today, Monsanto continues to prioritize FCPA compliance across all business units and has transformed this program into a global anti-corruption initiative in recognition of the growing number of international laws that direct behavior when interacting with government officials. Monsanto performs a proportional level of due diligence on each entity we engage to provide products or services to our company, and we train our employees regularly on proper behavior when interacting with not only government officials but also when working with anyone who owes a fiduciary duty to another. Monsanto acknowledges this failure in Indonesia 10 years ago and works very hard every day to make sure this kind of mistake never happens again.
- Finally, in 2009, the French courts did rule that consumers could possibly misinterpret two words – biodegradable and clean – that we were using in a specific ad campaign for glyphosate in France. The decision was not about the safety of our product as some Internet articles might suggest; the court believed that French consumers could interpret the words in a way that was not intended. While we believed in the merits of our ads and our case, we accepted the court’s ruling, paid a fine, and changed the language in our advertising campaign.
Of course, your overall question is why should you trust Monsanto or the information on this web site? This question about trusting Monsanto has been asked by different people on the site. It is clear that – while we spend a lot of time talking to our farmer-customers – we have not done enough to communicate with a broader audience about who we are and what we do. In addition, we have allowed misinformation about our company to go unanswered for years on the Internet.
The bottom line is we are going to have to earn your trust by being transparent, by answering your questions, and by making good on our business commitments and our actions daily. I appreciate your question and, if you are interested in learning more about us, I’d recommend that you take a look at Our Pledge, our Code of Business Conduct and Anti-Corruption Policy and our 2012 Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Report to gain a better idea of who we are and what we are focused on as individual employees and as a business each and every day.