Monsanto Attempts to Balance Stakeholder Interests
The Monsanto Company is the world’s largest seed company, specializing in genetically modified (GM) seeds. In 2009 the company made over 8.6 billion dollars in sales. Ninety percent of the world’s GM seeds are made by the Monsanto Company.
Over the years the Monsanto Company has seen many changes. The original company was founded in 1901 in St. Louis by John F. Queeny, who named the company after his wife’s maiden name. The company first experimented with food additives and it invented the artificial sweetener, saccharine, which it sold to the Coca Cola Company. With the onset of WW I, the company saw the potential in chemical and related products and renamed the company The Monsanto Chemical Company. The ever expanding products of the company including plastics and synthetic rubbers forced yet another name change back to the Monsanto Company in 1964.
During the 1970’s the company endured its first legal problem when its product, Agent Orange was found to be a dangerous. Agent Orange was created to quickly defrost the jungles of Vietnam. However, Agent Orange contained Dioxin which proved to cause cancer. A lawsuit was brought against the company and it was settled 180 million dollars. In 1981 the company began to experiment with bio technology and began creating cotton, soybean and canola seeds. These seeds were successful mainly based on their ability to stand up to the Round Up herbicide, also created by Monsanto.
The success in bio technology enabled Monsanto to merge and become Pharmacia Cooperation and two years later a new Monsanto company was formed and solely dealt with agriculture. Shortly after the restructuring of the company it was discovered that the Monsanto Company had been involved in a cover-up for the past two decades. The claim alleged that the company had released toxic waste into a creek in Anniston Alabama and knew...