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Posted: January 30th, 2013 | Filed under: Events, Press | Tags: Activism, Activist, Annual Shareholder Meeting, CEO, Creve Coeur, Demonstration, E.B. Solomont, gmo, GMO Labeling, Harrington Investments, hugh grant, Missouri, MO, Monsanto, monsanto shareholder meeting, Napa, Occupy Monsanto, Protest, proxy, SEC, Shareholder Resolution, St. Louis, St. Louis Business Journal, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Vote |
By E.B. Solomont, Reporter, St. Louis Business Journal
Food activists plan to protest outside Monsanto Co.’s shareholder meeting Thursday, calling on the $13.5 billion seed company to be more transparent.
The activists also hope to draw attention to a shareholder proposal to study “material financial risks or operational potential impacts” on Monsanto associated with seed contamination from genetically modified organisms, among other things.
“Monsanto pledges transparency, but provides very little,” says Adam Eidinger, an activist and Monsanto shareholder, who plans to speak at the meeting, which will take place at Monsanto’s Creve Coeur headquarters.
Reached by phone, Eidinger said he would speak on behalf of Harrington Investments of Napa, Calif., which submitted the shareholder proposal.
Eidinger said he personally holds 75 shares of Monsanto stock. “This is about the food people eat,” he said. “I am a shareholder; I’m also an activist who wants to see the company reform in a major way.”
The board of Monsanto, led by Chairman and CEO Hugh Grant, is against the proposal. “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,” company officials said in a Dec. 10 proxy document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In the filing, officials cited various programs — including a technology use guide, ongoing dialogue with seed users and academics, and ongoing discussions to determine best practices, among other things. “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,” the proxy stated.
Source: St. Louis Business Journal
Posted: December 13th, 2012 | Filed under: Research | Tags: agriculture, best practice, biotech, biotechnology, Buffer Zone Control, Certification, coexistance, contamination, Creve Coeur, decontamination, drought, environment, Farmers, field management, Financial Risk, gmo, GMO Labeling, Groundwater, impact, Legislation, Market Rejection, Monsanto Company, Occupy Monsanto, oil, organic, Policy, pollen, Pollinator, protein, proxy, Remediation, Report, Reputation, SEC, seed, Seed Contamination, shareholder, shareowner proposal, Shareowners, Soil, Study, Technology Use Guide, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, value |
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.
The labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is an increasing matter of concern among state legislators across the United States;
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;
The biological and physical movement of material derived from genetically engineered crops is difficult and sometimes impossible to control or recall;
Many domestic and global food markets demand foods with zero or near-zero levels of material derived from genetically modified organisms;
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  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/  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
 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