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Bayer Pending Charm Campaign Too Little Too Late - Statement by Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada

Thursday, June 13th 2019 12:28:16pm

I just received a copy of an internal Bayer memo to its employees dated today. It explains that tomorrow, June 14th Bayer is launching a major ad campaign to tell the world they’ve listened and learned. They say they’re “setting off on a journey to elevate their efforts in transparency, sustainability and how we engage with our stakeholders”.

Well, when you get caught ghost writing science, manipulating public servants and blacklisting reporters and activists, yes, Bayer, you need to change.

When your flagship product, Roundup, with active ingredient glyphosate is considered carcinogenic but you never tell people to take care in its use, well, yes Bayer folks, you need to change.

When the first three of over 13,400 pending court cases against your firm result in decisions for billions of dollars to compensate for plaintiffs’ suffering, yes Bayer shareholders, there’s a clear message that change is required.  

It’s good that you’re making all 107 Bayer-owned glyphosate safety studies public, but how many are in the public realm already through disclosure in the first three court cases?

And finally, when the weed killer cancer rulings trigger share declines of 46%, you’ve got no where to hide.  Clearly, time for changes.

But what did I read?  Bayer talks to its employees around the world about piloting a program for the upcoming EU glyphosate re-registration process in which they will invite scientists, journalist and NGOs to participate.

The arrogance of this message is astounding.

The EU process for re-registration is already open to the public and scientists and NGOs. Just like that process will be in Canada or the United States and many other countries. An invitation from Bayer is not needed.

Why does Bayer think it’s their right to “open the door to one of the world’s most intensely followed registration processes…”? Why would anyone trust a Bayer-led process?

Nowhere does the Bayer memo say they will now advise users of Roundup to take safety precautions. Just saying you’ve listened and learned (after losing almost half your stock value) does not build trust.

This charm campaign is a waste of Bayer shareholders’ money and more of the same tactics we’ve seen from them. Real change would be a voluntary withdrawal of glyphosate from the marketplace. That might start some serious discussion.

For more information, contact: Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada  613 724-8690 or beatrice@foecanada.org

Friends of the Earth Canada (www.foecanada.org) is the Canadian member of Friends of the Earth International, the world’s largest grassroots environmental network campaigning on today’s most urgent environmental and social issues.