Syngenta Annual Meeting: Controversial Pesticide Draws Investor Criticism
23 April 2012
The „Report on the Sustainability Dialogue with Syngenta“, produced by Ethos for Pictet concludes that recent developments have contributed to a “very unfavorable environment” for the further production and marketing of paraquat (brand name Gramoxone), especially in developing countries where conditions for a safe use are rarely fulfilled. The report calls Syngenta’s safe use programs a failure and recommends that Pictet’s continued involvement with the company be made contingent on the worldwide implementation of a corporate „zero misuse“strategy. The sale of the product should be restricted, as in the USA, to users who are fully equipped with the required protective clothing and trained in the proper use of the pesticide. According to Berne Declaration this demand could only be met, if Syngenta stops the sale of Paraquat in most countries.
Either way, paraquat is clearly growing into a serious image problem for Syngenta. As Ethos wrote in an earlier report for Pictet: “The company, while still insisting on the safety of Gramoxone, implicitly recognizes that it has lost the communication combat and admits it has to face significant challenges in terms of reputation.” “It is Ethos’ belief that the Paraquat compound does not meet investor expectations, not only in terms of sustainability but also in terms of commercial, regulatory and reputational risks.”