Earlier this year, our colleague Carey Gillam was offered a speaking slot by a Bayer shareholders’ group at the company’s annual meeting in Bonn, Germany. Due to Covid-19, the in-person meeting has been canceled and the Bayer shareholders convened in a virtual meeting on April 28 at 10:00 Central European Summer Time (CEST). In lieu of attending the event, of Ms. Gillam was invited to submit a video and written comments, which we have posted here.
For more reporting on the Bayer shareholder meeting and updates on litigation involving the company, see Gillam’s Monsanto Roundup and Dicamba Trial Tracker.
Questions for Bayer
Submitted by Carey Gillam
April 28, 2020
Hello, My name is Carey Gillam, I am a journalist and author who has spent 22 years researching and writing about the agriculture industry and the business practices and products of Monsanto, which Bayer bought in June of 2018.
I wrote a book about the company and the rise of its Roundup herbicide business built around the chemical glyphosate, and I have catalogued and reported on the internal Monsanto documents that show Monsanto spent decades hiding information about the health risks of its products from consumers and regulators.
The internal documents also show that my journalism work threatened Monsanto so much that it implemented a plan to try to discredit and silence me. Other internal Monsanto documents show the company similarly worked for years to discredit scientists and many other people who sought to share information about the risks of Roundup. Some of this harassment continued after Bayer bought Monsanto in 2018.
Truthful information clearly has been a threat to Monsanto and to Bayer.
It is time for that to change. As Bayer moves ahead with its ongoing business activities in the current year, Bayer must assure consumers and investors that it will not allow Monsanto’s deceptive practices to continue.
- Will Bayer pledge to stop directly and indirectly engaging in harassment of reporters and scientists starting immediately?
- Will Bayer pledge to stop funding and collaborating with front groups that have a history of harassing journalists and scientists with false propaganda? These groups include the American Council on Science and Health and Genetic Literacy Project.
There is substantial evidence that in addition to the health risks posed by Roundup, the wide-spread use of glyphosate-based herbicides over the top of genetically engineered crops has done significant damage to soil quality, pollinators, and the health of the environment generally. This overuse has also made glyphosate a significantly less effective herbicide.
- Will Bayer pledge that any new herbicides brought to market are done so with full transparency and truthfulness about the risks to human and environmental health?
The story of Monsanto’s misdeeds is known around the world. Bayer can and must act to change that storyline and end the deceptive and damaging conduct Monsanto engaged in for decades.
And most importantly, as the world faces a growing population it also faces growing threats in the form of disease, climate change, and water, air and food sources contaminated with toxins.
Bayer has an opportunity now to use its wealth and scientific expertise to protect and advance public and environmental health, not add to the damage for the mere pursuit of profit.
I urge Bayer to seize the opportunity.
Journalist, author and public interest researcher