Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

The Much-Loathed Monsanto Name Is About to Die

Popular
A protester wears a pill shaped costume bearing the names of Bayer and Monsanto during a demonstration against the takeover of U.S. seeds and pesticides maker Monsanto by German chemicals firm Bayer outside the World Conference Center where the annual General meeting of chemicals giant Bayer takes place in Bonn, western Germany, on May 25. PATRIK STOLLARZ / AFP / Getty Images

By Dan Nosowitz

The public seems to loathe Monsanto. A recent poll ranked the company among the 20 most hated in America (nearly every other name on the list is a consumer-facing company the public deals with regularly, like health insurers, telecoms, and airlines) and entire marches are organized against them. As German corporation Bayer AG folds Monsanto into its portfolio, Bayer is making what is probably a shrewd business choice: killing the Monsanto name.


In a press release, Bayer announced the decision: "Bayer will remain the company name. Monsanto will no longer be a company name. The acquired products will retain their brand names and become part of the Bayer portfolio." In other words, you'll no longer find Monsanto-brand Roundup in your Home Depot; it'll be Bayer-branded Roundup. (That is if Roundup continues to be sold.)

Monsanto has become synonymous with the agrochemical industry and a perceived disregard for human, public, and environmental health. There are plenty of other companies in the field at around the same size—Syngenta, Dow, BASF—but Monsanto's success in the United States, along with what seems like a pathological need to blunder in public relations, makes it a figurehead. In its past, Monsanto produced Agent Orange and DDT. In more recent history, the company blamed farmers for dicamba drift, ran ads promoting bioengineered foods that were widely interpreted as condescending and arrogant, and sued hundreds of small farmers for seed saving, among many other public relations disasters.

The Monsanto name is poison. (This is a fun bit of irony, as much of what Monsanto sells is literally poison; this is not a judgment—pesticides poison pests.)

Whether the erasure of the Monsanto name will help Monsanto products is not really our concern; Bayer is a corporation worth tens of billions of dollars and we don't particularly care what happens to its stockholders. What's more interesting is whether the general public, which is highly aware of Monsanto but not particularly aware of the movements of agribusiness corporations, will associate Monsanto with Bayer. "Monsanto" reads as "evil" to many Americans. "Bayer"? That might just read as "aspirin." (Bayer was the first mass-market seller of aspirin, back in the 19th century.)

Products like Roundup might forever be associated with Monsanto, no matter what the brand name is. But future products from Bayer's Monsanto division? Maybe not. A protest sign excoriating Monsanto is easily understood by all. One yelling at Bayer AG might not have that effect, at least not yet.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

These seven cookbooks by Black chefs have inspired the author's family. LightFieldStudios / Getty Images

By Zahida Sherman

Cooking has always intimidated me. As a child, I would anxiously peer into the kitchen as my mother prepared Christmas dinner for our family.

Read More Show Less
Hand sanitizer is offered to students during summer school sessions at Happy Day School in Monterey Park, California on July 9, 2020. FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded its list of potentially toxic hand sanitizers to avoid because they could be contaminated with methanol.

Read More Show Less
Over the next couple of weeks, crews will fully remove the 125-foot-wide, 25-foot-tall dam, allowing the Middle Fork Nooksack to run free for the first time in 60 years. Ctyonahl / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Tara Lohan

The conclusion to decades of work to remove a dam on the Middle Fork Nooksack River east of Bellingham, Washington began with a bang yesterday as crews breached the dam with a carefully planned detonation. This explosive denouement is also a beginning.

Read More Show Less
A man observes a flooded stretch of Dock Street in Annapolis, Maryland on Jan. 25, 2010. Matt Rath / Chesapeake Bay Program

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Tuesday that a trend of increased coastal flooding will continue to worsen as the climate crisis escalates.

Read More Show Less
A new tool called The Food Systems Dashboard aims to save decision makers time and energy by painting a complete picture of a country's food system. Photo courtesy of Dr. Jessica Fanzo and Dr. Rebecca McLaren

By Katie Howell

A new tool called The Food Systems Dashboard aims to save decision makers time and energy by painting a complete picture of a country's food system. Created by the Johns Hopkins' Alliance for a Healthier World, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Dashboard compiles food systems data from over 35 sources and offers it as a public good.

Read More Show Less
White's seahorse, also called the Sydney seahorse, is native to the Pacific waters off Australia's east coast. Sylke Rohrlach / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Manuela Callari

It can grow to a maximum of six inches (16 centimeters), change color depending on mood and habitat, and, like all seahorses, the White's seahorse male gestates its young. But this tiny snouted fish is under threat.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at a "Build Back Better" Clean Energy event on July 14, 2020 at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware. Joe Biden / Facebook

Presidential hopeful Joe Biden announced a $2 trillion plan Tuesday to boost American investment in clean energy and infrastructure.

Read More Show Less