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Monsanto Rejects GMO Labeling Shareholder Proposal in SEC Proxy Statement

Posted: December 9th, 2013 | Filed under: Genetic Crimes, Research, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Proxy Item No. 4: Shareowner Proposal One

This proposal was submitted by Adam Eidinger, Washington, D.C. As of July 30, 2013, Mr. Eidinger indicated that he held 75 shares of Monsanto common stock. The proposal has been carefully considered by the board of directors, which has concluded that its adoption would not be in the best interests of the company or its shareowners. For the reasons stated after the proposal, the board recommends a vote “Against” the shareowner proposal.

The proposal and supporting statement are presented as received from the shareowner proponent in accordance with the rules of the SEC, and the board of directors and the company disclaim any responsibility for its content. We will furnish, orally or in writing as requested, the address of the proponent of this shareowner proposal promptly upon written or oral request directed to the company’s Secretary.

Information regarding the inclusion of proposals in Monsanto’s proxy statement can be found on page 82 under Shareowner Proposals for 2015 Annual Meeting.


Shareowner Statement
WHEREAS:

  • Genetic engineering is the direct manipulation of an organism’s genome using biotechnology.
  • For thousands of years, mankind has modified plants through grafting, artificial selection, and without the use of genetic engineering.
  • Transgenic DNA produced through modern genetic engineering is not found in natural foods and was not in the food supply of previous generations of mankind.
  • Americans have the right to know what they are eating.
  • U.S. law does not require the labeling of patented biotechnology in foods sold in grocery stores.
  • Company stands by its products and believes they are safe.
  • Due to the uncertainty regarding the potential negative side effects of genetic engineering on humans, animals, and the environment, it is imperative that the Company be transparent with customers concerning our labeling efforts.
  • The Company’s Pledge [1] says that we will ensure that “information is available, accessible, and understandable.”
  • Transparency provides consumers the power to decide what kind of foods are grown on farms and served on dinner tables.
  • Over 60 countries around the world have regulations concerning the labeling of foods produced using genetic engineering.
  • In 2002, the Company said “Food Labeling. It has Monsanto’s Full Backing” in regards to the labeling of genetically engineered foods in the United Kingdom.
  • In 2013, there was legislation introduced in over two dozen U.S. state legislatures concerning the labeling of foods created using genetic engineering.
  • The state legislatures of Connecticut and Maine have passed legislation requiring foods sold in those states to be labeled if they were produced using genetic engineering, but only 4 or more other New England states pass similar legislation.
  • The Company spent $8,112,866.55 in 2012 to prevent California residents from voting to increase transparency in their state’s food labels.
  • As of July 2013, the Company has spent $242,156.25 to prevent Washington state residents from voting to increase transparency in their state’s food labels.
  • The money spent by the Company to prevent legislation that discloses whether food produced using genetic engineering dilutes shareowners earnings per share.
  • The Company believes that nationwide regulations are needed to prevent 56 different state & territory food labeling laws.

RESOLVED: The Monsanto Board shall prepare a report, at reasonable expense and omitting proprietary information, assessing any material financial risks or operational potential impacts on the Company in order to:

  • Work with the FDA to develop food labeling guidelines for American consumers that discloses whether genetic engineering was used to produce the food;
  • Work with the FDA to develop standard threshold of 0.9% or higher for foods created with genetic engineering
  • Analyze the inclusion of U.S. patent numbers on American food labels where patented biotechnology was used to produce the food;

The report shall be available by July 1, 2014 and be posted online on our Company’s website. In order to ensure that our Company upholds its pledge of transparency, we urge a vote FOR this resolution.
[1] “Our Pledge” – Transparency: http://www.monsanto.com/whoweare/Pages/monsanto-pledge.aspx


THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS RECOMMENDS A VOTE “AGAINST” THE FOREGOING PROPOSAL FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

Food is one of the most important and significant facets of our world. It is a critically important issue to everyone and is the focus of debates and dialogues from the halls of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, to the grocery store aisles in Buenos Aires, to the open markets in Cairo. There are diverse points of views on everything from food security, to subsidies, to sustainable intensification, to loss and waste, to distribution systems and even to labeling. It matters to people where food comes from, how it is produced, and how food safety is ensured. As a seed company that participates in the agriculture food value chain, we are actively listening to and participating with others in this dialogue about food. In addition:

  • Our work in agriculture represents just one component of a broad and diverse food value chain that involves many parties. The proponent is seeking a report about the impact of the company’s working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to effect a change in labeling on consumer food products. These are not Monsanto products nor are they manufactured, controlled, packaged or labeled by our company. We sell seed to farmers, who often sell their crop harvest to a grain processor, who sells grain or ingredients to a food company, who may further process the ingredients, then manufacture the food item, which it then sells to a retailer, who ultimately sells the finished product to a consumer. As a company that is focused on agricultural productivity and which sells products to farmers our position in the chain does not afford us the expertise that would inform an assessment of consumer food packaging information.
  • Genetically modified (GM) crops are but one important tool that farmers may choose in engaging in sustainable agriculture. Farmers, whether they adopt conventional, GM or organic seeds, employ a variety of production practices to control weeds and pests and improve the yield of their crops. In order to reduce the need for topical controls or other practices, millions of farmers around the world choose to control weeds and pests, and protect their crops’ yield, through GM seeds, which incorporate a new gene in the seed, such as a protein from a bacterium that is commonly applied over the top of conventional and organic crops to control pests.
  • We support current FDA guidance on food labeling which is based on the attributes of the food itself. In the United States, the FDA regulates the safety and labeling of foods and food products derived from crops (conventional, GM, and organic), and all must meet the same safety requirements. FDA guidance requires labeling of food products containing ingredients derived from GM crops if there is a meaningful difference in composition, nutrition or safety between that food and its counterpart derived from conventional crops. In the absence of such a difference, the FDA has determined that mandatory labeling is not required. The American Medical Association (AMA) supports the FDA’s approach and approved a formal statement asserting that there is no scientific justification for special labeling of foods containing GM ingredients. FDA guidance does not require labeling of production practices used by farmers employing conventional or organic methods to control weeds and pests and improve their yields.
  • We support voluntary labeling to support consumer choice, provided the label is truthful and not misleading. We recognize that some consumers may prefer to avoid foods that contain GM ingredients. Food companies recognize this as well, and are providing these customers the choices they prefer through organic offerings or by voluntarily labeling their products “non-GM”. People who prefer to purchase non-GM foods can easily find such products. The FDA allows food manufacturers to label their products voluntarily to indicate certain attributes or production methods (e.g., organic, conventional or GM), provided the label is truthful and not misleading. We support this approach and are pleased to sell our seed products to farmers employing any of these production methods. For more information about our views on consumer choice and proposals that would mandate labeling of food products containing GM ingredients, please visit http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/Pages/food-labeling.aspx.
  • We believe that mandatory labeling of GM ingredients where there is no meaningful difference in nutrition or safety could confuse and mislead consumers. Demands for mandatory labeling of GM ingredients as a matter of consumer choice may instead lead to a reduction in consumer choice by misleading consumers into thinking products bearing such a label are not safe, are less nutritious or are otherwise inferior to similar products without the label. Indeed, the pejorative connotation of a mandatory label could result in consumers viewing it as a warning statement that could scare them about the foods they have come to like and trust. The suggestion advanced in the proposal is that the company should advocate for the proponent’s preference for labeling consumer food products, which is contrary to the position we have stated publicly and contrary to the views of our customers and the food value chain.
  • We support transparency and dialogue about biotechnology and our products, both with our customers and with consumers. In the United States, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, of which the company is a member, recognizes that some consumers may have questions about GM production methods and food ingredients and is providing information through a dedicated website, http://factsaboutgmos.org/. This site informs readers that if the ingredient label on a food or beverage in the U.S. indicates that the product contains corn or soy, the product most likely contains ingredients derived from GM seeds because a very high percentage of corn and soy in the United States is grown from GM seed products. In addition, www.monsanto.com, provides extensive information about biotechnology benefits and safety, generally, and Monsanto’s genetically modified seed products, specifically. Recently, Monsanto has worked with other seed companies to make additional information about agricultural biotechnology available to interested consumers. The website GMOanswers (http://www.gmoanswers.com) invites consumers to ask questions about agricultural biotechnology. General safety and benefits questions are addressed by independent experts; company-specific questions are addressed by company representatives.
  • Assessing the inclusion of U.S. patent numbers related to biotechnology on American food labels is unrelated to our business and such labeling would likely be disruptive to the food supply chain. The consumer food product labels that the proposal suggests analyzing are unrelated to our business of selling seed products to farmers. The proposed assessment would provide no meaningful information to shareowners. The proposal appears to suggest that the inclusion of patent numbers on product labels might serve as indicia that a product contains ingredients derived from GM seeds. The food manufacturer would then be burdened with significant compliance challenges if required to specifically identify the variety of seeds that produced grain that was ultimately processed in the food. Given the extensive pre-commercial food safety assessment and regulatory reviews by government officials, the U.S. food system operates effectively and efficiently in managing commodity crops, such as corn, soy and cotton. A separate program would be required to harvest, crush, store, transport and process by particular seed varieties, in order to enable labeling to that level of specificity, and would undermine the system.


THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS RECOMMENDS
A VOTE “AGAINST”
THIS SHAREOWNER PROPOSAL
AND YOUR PROXY WILL BE SO VOTED IF THE PROPOSAL IS PRESENTED
UNLESS YOU SPECIFY OTHERWISE


SOURCE: Page 76, Monsanto Company Proxy Statement, Securities and Exchange Commission

Boycott the Grocery Manufacturers Association Member Companies

Posted: October 1st, 2013 | Filed under: Research | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

boycott the gma Boycott the Grocery Manufacturers Association Member Companies Yes on 522 Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company Wm Bolthouse Farms Wipro Technologies WhiteWave Foods Company Welch Foods Waters Corporation Waste Management VWR International Vanee Foods Company University of Phoenix Unilever U.S. Bank Two Chefs on a Roll TreeHouse Foods Tree Top Traitor Brands Tip Top Canning Company Thomas Thermo Fisher Scientific The United States Pharmacopeial Convention The Sun Products Corporation The Procter & Gamble Company The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley The National Food Laboratory The Mushroom Company The J. M. Smucker Company The Integer Group The Hillshire Brands Company The Hershey Company The Coca Cola Company The Clorox Company The Boston Consulting Group Texas Department of Criminal Justice Tetra Pak Terra Technology Teradata Corporation TelerX Marketing Tata Consultancy Services Tasty Baking Company Target Corporation Syngenta Corporation Sunny Delight Beverages Company Suncore Products Sun Maid Growers of California Strategic Solutions Stericycle ExpertRECALL Starbucks Coffee Company Southern Classic Food Group Sonoco Products Company Solae Snyders Lance Smithfield Foods Silliker Silgan Containers Corporation Signature Brands Siemens AG Shook Shearers Foods SellEthics Marketing Group Sealed Air Corporation Seafood Products Association Schawk Saticoy Foods Corporation SAP Americas salesforce.com Safeway S.C. Johnson & Son RW3 Incorporated Ruiz Foods Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Roka Bioscience Rockwell Automation Robert Rothschild Farm River Run Foods Rich Products Corporation Retail Solutions Resource Reily Foods Company Rehrig Pacific Company Reckitt Benckiser Ralston Foods QMI SAI Global QAD Protest Procurian PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP POWER Engineers Post Foods Pinterest Pinnacle Foods Group Pharmavite Pfizer Nutrition Perrigo Nutritionals Peravia Industrial Pepsico PECO Pallet PBM Products Paradise Tomato Kitchens Oy Transmeri Ab Owens Illinois Oregon Fruit Products Company Oracle Old Dominion Freight Line Ocean Spray Cranberries Nu Tek Food Science North America Nielsen Niagara Bottling Nestle National Fruit Product Company Nampak Musco Family Olive Co. Mosaic Sales Solutions Morton Salt Morgan Foods Moody Dunbar Monterey Mushrooms Monsanto Company Mondelez Global MOM Brands Microsoft Corporation Michael Foods Merisant Company MeadWestvaco Corporation Mead Johnson Nutrition Company McKinsey & Company McIlhenny Company McDonalds Corporation McCormick & Company McCain Foods Martek Biosciences Corporation Mars Mariani Packing Company Marakon Lowenstein Sandler PC LLamasoft LDS Church Large & Singer Lang Pharma Nutrition Land OLakes Lakeside Foods Kraft Foods Group KPMG LLP Knouse Foods Cooperative Kikkoman Foods Kerry Ingredients & Flavours Kellogg Company Kane Is Able Kagome Jyoti Natural Foods Jones Hamilton Company Johnson Foods JOH JDA Software JBT FoodTech Jasper Products IRI Inventure Foods Intermec Technologies Corporation Inmar Infor Idahoan Foods icix I 522 Hussmann Corporation Hunt Executive Search HRCP House Autry Mills Hormel Foods Corporation Hoopeston Foods Hirzel Canning Company Hewlett Packard Company Harlow HRK Sales & Marketing Hardy & Bacon LLP Hanover Foods Corporation H.J. Heinz Company Grocery Manufacturers Association Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Grant Thornton LLP Grandma Browns Beans Goya Foods Great Lakes Goya de Puerto Rico Gossner Foods Golden Specialty Foods Godiva Chocolatier GMO Labeling gmo GMA Giorgio Foods Georgia Pacific General Mills GENCO GE Furmano Foods Freight Handlers Foster Clark Products Ltd. Flowers Foods Florida Products Ferrero USA Faribault Foods Exponent Eurofins Scientific ES3 Ernst & Young LLP Energizer Holdings Elanco El Encanto Ecolab USA E. & J. Gallo Winery Durrset Amigos dunnhumby USA DSM Nutritional Products DSC Logistics Dow AgroSciences Dole Packaged Foods Company Diamond Foods Deloitte Consulting LLP DelGrosso Foods Del Monte Foods Company Decernis Dean Foods Company Daymon Worldwide D.D. Williamson & Co. Cyba Stevens Management Group Crown Holdings CROSSMARK Creative Foodworks CRA Covance Laboratories Corporation Continental Mills Consorcio Cítricos Dominicanos ConAgra Foods Colgate Palmolive Company Clemmys Clement Pappas & Company Clabber Girl Corporation Chiquita/Fresh Express CHEP CEO Search Partners Catalina Carlton Fields Cargill Capgemini Consulting Can Corporation of America Campbell Soup Company California Natural Products C.H. Robinson Worldwide C.B. Powell C. H. Guenther & Son Buycott Bush Brothers & Company Burris Logistics Burdette Beckmann Bunge North America Bumble Bee Foods Bruce Foods Corporation Boycott Booz & Company Blue Diamond Growers bioMerieux Bimbo Bakeries USA Big Island Candies Beverage House Bemis Company Bellisio Foods Bell Carter Foods BeaconUnited Bayer CropScience Basic American Foods Barilla America Ball Corporation Bain & Company B&G Foods Azuma Foods International Aurora Organic Dairy Ardagh Group Aon Risk Solutions Andros UK Limited AmeriQual Foods American Spoon Foods Aimia Advantage Sales and Marketing Acosta Sales & Marketing Company ACH Food Companies Accenture Abbott Nutrition AB SCIEX A.T. Kearney 522 3M Company 3M Below is the current list of companies that are fighting to stop GMO labeling through their membership with the Grocery Manufacturers Association. As October 1, 2013, the GMA has spent $7,222,500.00 in the state of Washington to prevent the passage of Initiative 522.

BOYCOTT THE FOLLOWING COMPANIES UNTIL THEY CANCEL THEIR MEMBERSHIP WITH THE GROCERY MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION!


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Monsanto Company Proxy Item No. 5: Shareowner Proposal

Posted: December 13th, 2012 | Filed under: Research | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |
Proxy Item No. 5: Shareowner Proposal – Pages 74-76 of Monsanto Company’s Schedule 14A Form

This proposal was submitted by Harrington Investments, Inc., 1001 2nd Street, Suite 325, Napa, CA 94559, as lead proponent of a filing group. The proposal has been carefully considered by the board of directors, which has concluded that its adoption would not be in the best interests of the company or its shareowners. For the reasons stated after the proposal, the board recommends a vote “Against” the shareowner proposal.

The proposal and supporting statement are presented as received from the shareowner proponents in accordance with the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the board of directors and the company disclaim any responsibility for its content. We will furnish, orally or in writing as requested, the name, address and claimed share ownership position of the proponents of this shareowner proposal promptly upon written or oral request directed to the company’s Secretary.

Information regarding the inclusion of proposals in Monsanto’s proxy statement can be found on page 77 under Shareowner Proposals for 2014 Annual Meeting.


Shareowner Statement

Whereas:

The labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is an increasing matter of concern among state legislators across the United States;

Whereas:

Vermont, Alaska, Maine and Nebraska have passed laws requiring labeling of GMOs and at least fifteen states have offered legislation that would require similar labeling;

Whereas:

The biological and physical movement of material derived from genetically engineered crops is difficult and sometimes impossible to control or recall;

Whereas:

Many domestic and global food markets demand foods with zero or near-zero levels of material derived from genetically modified organisms;

Whereas:

Genetically modified crops have been found to contaminate conventional (non-GMO) and organic farms, threatening farmers’ livelihoods, and affecting critical food supply, and imposing a significant financial burden on farmers seeking to satisfy markets for GMO-free products;

RESOLVED: The Monsanto board shall prepare a report, at reasonable expense and omitting proprietary information, assessing any material financial risks or operational potential impacts on the Company with:

  • Seed contamination, including costs of seed replacement, crop and production losses and clean up, decontamination and continued testing of affected seeds;
  • Ongoing buffer zone control, including production acreage losses and on-going maintenance required to secure or maintain access to contamination-sensitive markets;
  • Crop, production, and post-harvest losses and associated costs of market rejections, including temporary or permanent market losses resulting from GMO contamination;
  • Loss of organic or other third-party certification due to GMO contamination and any costs associated with additional record-keeping, testing or surveillance required to regain certification or retain certification on impacted operations;
  • Well water testing and/or groundwater cleanup contamination if found;
  • Removal and destruction of contaminated GMO plants;
  • Pollinator losses and related damages, e.g. to non-target organisms;
  • Soil contamination and on-going related mitigation and remediation costs; and
  • Damage to farmers’ reputation, livelihood, and standing in the community.

The report shall also discuss the impact of such a policy regarding such issues and related public policies on our customers and consumers, and shall be available by July 1, 2013.


THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS RECOMMENDS A VOTE “AGAINST” THE FOREGOING PROPOSAL FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

Disclosure of material financial risks or operational impacts on the company is required by SEC reporting requirements and we take seriously our responsibility to identify, analyze and transparently report such risks or potential impacts. Existing processes and procedures are in place that are intended to ensure compliance with SEC disclosure requirements relating to the topics raised by the proponent. An additional report to restate such risks or impacts as suggested in the proposal would be redundant and provide no meaningful additional information to shareowners.

We are committed to the practice of product stewardship which includes careful attention to coexistence and identity preservation. More details are available on our website at http://www.monsanto.com/ourcommitments/Pages/product-stewardship.aspx [2] For example,

  • Our Technology Use Guide, which is updated annually, distributed to our customers and posted on our website, provides information specifically about coexistence and identity preservation to our customers, including general instructions for management of mechanical mixing and pollen flow.
  • We engage in robust, ongoing dialogue with the seed trade, agricultural value chain and academic community to address the complex subject areas encompassed by the shareowner proposal in a manner consistent with best industry practice. These are routinely discussed in these settings and are well known to the company individuals responsible for identifying and reporting material risks and potential impacts.
  • Monsanto is a founding member of “Excellence Through Stewardship,” the agricultural biotechnology industry’s global initiative for advancing best practices in stewardship and quality management. As a member, Monsanto is subject to regular global compliance audits to ensure best practices are being followed. See http://www.excellencethroughstewardship.org/ [2] for more information about this initiative.

Constructive coexistence among diverse segments of agriculture is well established and practiced. It is commonplace to find different agricultural production methods working effectively side by side based on well established practices and a long, successful history in agriculture. Careful management of these production methods is in the interest of all concerned – our company, our customers, the value chain and consumers.

  • Farmers and seed companies rely on standards and best practices in seed and grain production, harvest, handling and transportation to support production, distribution and trade of products from different agricultural systems. This is essential to preserve the identity of products to meet market specifications. Examples of identity preserved production include certified seed, specialty oil or protein crops, and crops that meet commercial contract specifications such as organic and non-genetically enhanced specifications.
  • Based on historical experience generally accepted agricultural practices to manage production to meet quality specifications have been established. Among these practices are appropriate seed sourcing, field management, storage and handling practices. This array of agricultural planning tools and practices maintains product integrity and quality specifications.
A mosaic of agricultural production systems must be preserved to enable farmer choice and meet global productivity needs. Drought in several major agricultural production regions in 2011 and 2012 is a vivid reminder of the challenges facing agricultural production and food security. Monsanto believes farmers should have the freedom to choose the production method best suited for their environments, markets and needs, whether organic, non-GM conventional, or products improved through biotechnology. All of the agricultural systems can and do work effectively side by side and contribute to the varied needs of different farmers, markets and consumers and meeting the demands of a growing population.

THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS RECOMMENDS
A VOTE “AGAINST”
THIS SHAREOWNER PROPOSAL
AND YOUR PROXY WILL BE SO VOTED IF THE PROPOSAL IS PRESENTED
UNLESS YOU SPECIFY OTHERWISE


[2] Information contained on this website is for informational purposes only and is not incorporated by reference into this proxy statement.


Source: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission