This autumn the Monsanto Tribunal will assemble experts from around the world to set out the evidence against the global mega-corporation, which will stand accused of monstrous ‘crimes’ against people and the environment. The Tribunal’s verdict will not be legally binding – this time. But on a future occasion, it may be.
Monsanto may not be a household name in the UK but as one of the world’s leading seed and chemical companies, its activities affect us all.
Its best-selling weedkiller is made from a chemical called glyphosate that the World Health Organisation has found to probably cause cancer. Yet its use is now so widespread that traces are found in one out of every three loaves of bread in the UK.
That’s why earlier this year, in the lead up a EU decision about whether to relicense glyphosate, we mounted public pressure on decision makers through our Monsanto honest marketing campaign.
We sent out thousands of spoof labels to individuals which ended up on supermarket shelves across the UK telling the truth about Monsanto’s products and their corporate power. Our campaign was part of widespread opposition across Europe, which resulted in a rejection of the automatic 15-year relicense in the EU, as expected by Monsanto. Instead, glyphosate was only relicensed for 18 months pending further research.
Unbelievably, selling toxic chemicals to the mass market is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Monsanto’s appalling record. Monsanto is at the forefront of pushing a model of agriculture that takes control away from small-scale farmers as well as causes environmental damage. Monsanto maintains it market dominance by getting farmers hooked onto its expensive weedkillers and seeds that have be purchased every year from Monsanto.
Not only is this costly for cash-strapped subsistence farmers, but it’s unnecessary. Scientific evidence shows that organic, non-chemical methods are effective for growing healthy food as well as better for the environment. Being able to keep, save and exchange a wide range of seeds also helps maintain biodiversity, assists with climate adaptation and supports resilience in farming.