While world leaders gathered in Paris to approve a historical climate change agreement, industrial agro-chemical and biotech giant Monsanto attempted to green its image by pledging to go carbon neutral by 2021.However, whether this pledge will lead to meaningful action on the part of Monsanto, or whether it is a way for the agribusiness behemoth to greenwash its image, gain media attention, and influence investors is still unclear.
While moving towards carbon neutral operations would be a welcome step, Monsanto’s record of environmental damage demands more than just moving towards carbon neutrality in the future, it requires a strong move towards offsetting for past damages as well.
Monsanto has amassed vast wealth and power creating fossil fuel-based chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers that are used in concert with its genetically engineered seeds. The systematic use of Monsanto’s chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers has brought about soil degradation and reduced the carbon content of agro-ecosystems.
Most of Monsanto’s history is steeped in heavy industrial chemicals, whose production and processing require massive amounts of fossil fuels. The company has made billions promoting chemical based products that have been linked to cancer, soil degradation, and environmental damage. Monsanto’s petro-chemical practices have led to increased greenhouse gas emissions and exacerbated climate change.
Monsanto chairman and CEO, claims that the company will do some basic “good housekeeping” to help reduce its carbon footprint. In moving towards carbon neutrality, Monsanto will rely on the same farmers and farmlands it has been exploiting for years to offset its carbon footprint. By promoting carbon capturing practices such as cover cropping, Monsanto can sell farmers more seeds per growing season, and more chemicals and fertilizers for the cover crops. By claiming the carbon captured by farmers, and selling farmers the products to do so, Monsanto can line its pockets and greenwash its image.
Until the company shifts away from its global industrialized model reliant on fossil-fuel-based chemicals and non-renewable genetically engineered seeds, all of its internal carbon footprint reductions will do little to stem the legacy of environmental degradation sown by Monsanto. Monsanto has depleted the soil of nutrients, contaminated our precious fresh water resources, and been amajor contributor to climate change.
Monsanto may be taking the first step towards reducing its carbon footprint and the legacy of degradation that it has sowed upon the earth. Or it may be continuing to mislead the public, as they pillage the planet to line their pockets. Only time will tell…
Don’t wait for Monsanto to get their act together! Purchasing organic and local foods is a great way to support agricultural practices that held reduce your carbon footprint, while supporting local and organic regenerative agriculture.
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