The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Bayer Apologizes Over Secret List of Monsanto Critics
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."
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.
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.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dr. Brian R. Shmaefsky
One year after the Flint Water Crisis I was invited to participate in a water rights session at a conference hosted by the US Human Rights Network in Austin, Texas in 2015. The reason I was at the conference was to promote efforts by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to encourage scientists to shine a light on how science intersects with human rights, in the U.S. as well as in the context of international development. My plan was to sit at an information booth and share my stories about water quality projects I spearheaded in communities in Bangladesh, Colombia, and the Philippines. I did not expect to be thrown into conversations that made me reexamine how scientists use their knowledge as a public good.
The shipping industry is coming to grips with its egregious carbon footprint, as it has an outsized contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and to the dumping of chemicals into open seas. Already, the global shipping industry contributes about 2 percent of global carbon emissions, about the same as Germany, as the BBC reported.
The Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC overlooks the Tidal Basin, a man-made body of water surrounded by cherry trees. Visitors can stroll along the water's edge, gazing up at the stately monument.
But at high tide, people are forced off parts of the path. Twice a day, the Tidal Basin floods and water spills onto the walkway.