Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Bayer Apologizes Over Secret List of Monsanto Critics

Business
Bayer Apologizes Over Secret List of Monsanto Critics
O. Andersen / Getty Images / AFP

Germany's Bayer, which bought the U.S. agrochemical firm Monsanto, issued an apology on Sunday following reports that its American subsidiary drew up a list of those critical of the firm's practices.


"After an initial analysis, we understand that such a project raised concerns and criticism," Bayer said in a statement. "This is not the way Bayer would seek dialogue with different stakeholders and society, so we apologize."


The Leverkusen-headquartered firm said it would hire a law firm to carry out an external investigation into the matter.

The French prosecutor said Friday it had opened a probe after newspaper Le Monde filed a complaint.

The French daily alleges that Monsanto built up a file of about 200 names, including journalists and lawmakers who are skeptical about the company and its products, in the hope of influencing their positions on pesticides.

The charge is that the information was collected illegally.

Paris police are investigating the possible "collection of personal information by fraudulent, unfair or illicit means."

Naming Names

Le Monde and one of its journalists complained that they were on the list drawn up since 2016 and allegedly leaked by U.S. public relations firm FleishmanHillard.

The name of France's former Environment Minister Segolene Royal is also said to be on the list. She told AFP it "says a lot about the methods of lobbyists ... they carry out spying, infiltration, seek to influence, sometimes financially, I imagine."

PR firm FleishmanHillard said on Friday it would investigate the allegations.

French public broadcaster France Televisions announced Sunday that it would also file charges.

Monsanto's Roundup.

Lawsuits Over Monsanto's Roundup

Monsanto produces the broad-spectrum glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup. The firm and new owner Bayer deny that Roundup causes cancer.

However, last August, a U.S. jury found Bayer liable because Monsanto had not warned users of alleged cancer risks linked to Roundup.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a new decision in April that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, which is made by Monsanto, does not cause cancer or other health problems if used according to instruction labels.

Bayer Chief Executive Officer Werner Baumann is facing increased shareholder pressure over the litigation it inherited from Monsanto. It is the named defendant in U.S. lawsuits concerning Roundup filed by 13,400 people.

Bayer shares have fallen about 40 percent since the $63 billion (€56 billion) Monsanto purchase was completed last June.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Deutsche Welle.


Fridays for Future climate activists demonstrate in Bonn, Germany on Sept. 25, 2020. Roberto Pfeil / picture alliance via Getty Images

Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere hit a new record in 2019 and have continued climbing this year, despite lockdowns and other measures to curb the pandemic, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Monday, citing preliminary data.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Argentine black-and-white tegu is an invasive species that can reach four-feet long. Mark Newman / Getty Images

These black-and-white lizards could be the punchline of a joke, except the situation is no laughing matter.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Smoke covers the skies over downtown Portland, Oregon, on Sept. 9, 2020. Diego Diaz / Icon Sportswire

By Isabella Garcia

September in Portland, Oregon, usually brings a slight chill to the air and an orange tinge to the leaves. This year, it brought smoke so thick it burned your throat and made your eyes strain to see more than 20 feet in front of you.

Read More Show Less
A rare rusty-spotted cat is spotted in the wild in 2015. David V. Raju / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 4.0

Misunderstanding the needs of how to protect three rare cat species in Southeast Asia may be a driving factor in their extinction, according to a recent study.

Read More Show Less
Cyclone Gati on Sunday had sustained winds of 115 miles per hour. NASA - EOSDIS Worldview

Cyclone Gati made landfall in Somalia Sunday as the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane, the first time that a hurricane-strength storm has made landfall in the East African country, NPR reported.

Read More Show Less