Monsanto shareholder group seeks study on GMO issues
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 27. 2014- Monsanto shareholders tomorrow will vote on a resolution requesting a study to outline “material, financial and operational risks” that genetically modified (GMO) crop products place on the company.
The resolution, filed by John Harrington of Harrington Investments Inc., will be presented by Margot McMillen, a member of the executive council of the National Family Farm Coalition, at Monsanto's annual general meeting.
Proponents want the report to focus on risks from “GMO issues,” including genetic drift and buffer zone control, “damage to farmers' reputations, livelihood, and standing in the community,” as well as costs associated with mitigating damage to organic operations and market rejections.
In a teleconference organized in part by Food and Water Watch and the Pesticide Action Network, McMillen said the company spends hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fights to avoid disclosing risks to its operations and products. “This is not a sustainable model,” she said during today's call, asserting that Monsanto's board of directors is “keeping us in the dark.”
Monsanto's board has previously recommended a vote against the proposal. The company already discloses material risks and operational impacts in Securities and Exchange Commission filings and the requested study “would be redundant and provide no meaningful additional information to shareowners,” it said.
In addition, procedures are already in place to disclose information relating to the topics raised by proponents of a study, the board noted in a proxy statement in December.
Shareholders of record on Dec. 2, 2013, are eligible to vote on the resolution.
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