The recent lawsuit against Monsanto shows that our country’s chemical oversight process is broken. When EPA isn’t working, individuals like plaintiff Dewayne Johnson have to fight for justice in the courts. While the jury ultimately ruled in favor of Johnson and his case that glyphosate (Roundup) had caused his cancer, no American should be forced into a David vs. Goliath battle for their health.
In the absence of robust chemical safety enforcement, corporate shareholders can play a role in making the system better. Rachel’s Network has partnered with As You Sow to exert shareholder power to reduce toxic pesticide use in agriculture, with a focus on glyphosate, dicamba, and chlorpyrifos.
Funding from Rachel’s Network is enabling As You Sow to engage shareholders in advocating for better corporate policies and more sustainable agriculture practices that minimize synthetic pesticide use.
Rachel’s Network previously worked with As You Sow on a two-year project addressing the misuse of antibiotics in farm animals, which contributes to antibiotic resistance in humans. That partnership resulted in four companies – McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and KFC – phasing out the use of medically important antibiotics in their poultry supply chains, among other achievements.
Rachel’s Network also funded a project through the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) to release internal documents from Monsanto showing the company’s longstanding manipulation and obfuscation of the health impacts of its products.
“Documents we helped release through UCSF show that Monsanto is working from the same playbook as big tobacco and big oil,” said Rachel’s Network President Fern Shepard. “This kind of corporate behavior not only damages public health in untold ways, it hurts a company’s financial prospects. Just look what happened to Bayer, Monsanto’s parent company, after the ruling was announced. We’ve seen As You Sow’s shareholder action make big changes on antibiotics and we’re thrilled to support this effort too.”
As You Sow is engaging with high-profile brands – Quaker Oats, Nature Valley, Post Consumer Brands, Kellogg, Hain Celestial, and Unilever – on pesticides in their product supply chains. This year the organization filed a shareholder resolution with General Mills regarding pesticide use in its Cheerios supply chain, earning support from a very strong 31 percent of shareholders. As You Sow will continue pursuing shareholder campaigns with major brands, further raising public and shareholder awareness on the threat of glyphosate and other toxic pesticides.
According to Christy Spees, who leads the pesticides effort at As You Sow, “Glyphosate is incredibly pervasive in our agricultural system, and we continue to see new research shedding light on the innumerable risks it poses to public health and the environment. Where federal regulations fall short of curbing these risks, big food companies have the ability to hold their suppliers accountable for safer practices.
“We are tackling the mis- and overuse of toxic pesticides first by asking major processed food companies to measure and report the use of pesticides like glyphosate in their supply chains, then by asking them to commit to phasing them out entirely. By advancing industry standards, we aim to promote an agricultural system that no longer relies on toxic chemicals.”
Rachel’s Network, a nonprofit organization named in Rachel Carson’s honor, promotes women as impassioned leaders and agents of change dedicated to the stewardship of the earth. The Network builds productive alliances among members and offers services that empower them to lead.
As You Sow is the nation’s nonprofit leader in shareholder advocacy. Founded in 1992, they harness shareholder power to create lasting change that benefits people, planet, and profit.