The CSR Newsletters are a freely-available resource generated as a dynamic complement to the textbook, Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Sustainable Value Creation.

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Strategic CSR - Monsanto

I am no defender of Monsanto, but the article in the url below presents some data that are hard to ignore. In particular, the article focuses on crop yields in different countries. In the U.S., where Monsanto has had a large and controversial influence on the agribusiness industry, crop yields are far superior to countries with less-developed agribusiness industries:

Typical corn yields, in bushels per acre:
  • U.S. - 150
  • Argentina - 129
  • Mexico - 126
  • EU - 119
  • Brazil - 98
  • China - 84
  • South Africa - 68
  • E. Europe - 56
  • India - 37

While mass-produced agriculture is far from ideal for the ecosystem, certainly not for everyone, and criticized by many (e.g., http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=15783), it is hard to ignore the data. Some of Monsanto’s innovations can add value in developing economies with agricultural sectors routinely decimated by difficult weather patterns, low access to fertilizers, and overall inefficiency:

India gets as many bushels of corn per acre as the U.S. did 70 years ago.

There is insufficient land in the world to satisfy our food demands solely via organic production methods. While national governments play a huge role in policing food production (making sure it is safe and sustainable), it is hard to escape the conclusion that firms like Monsanto need to be included as part of the solution to satisfying the nutritional needs of the world’s growing population.

Have a good weekend.
David


Instructor Teaching Site: http://www.sagepub.com/strategiccsr/
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More Monsanto Magic Likely to Be Reaped
By Spencer Jakab
April 4, 2012
The Wall Street Journal
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