April 29, 2016
Shareholders Call on Bayer to End Use of Neonics, Invest in Alternatives to Bee-Killing Pesticides
Shareholder motion draws attention to business risk of neonicotinoids pesticides
GERMANY — SumOfUs.org, an international corporate watchdog, is ramping up an ongoing anti-neonics campaign in anticipation of Bayer AG’s annual general meeting on April 29th, urging the company to turn away from its current use of neonicotinoids (or “neonics”), a class of systemic pesticides linked to dangerous declines in pollinating species, like bees, along with negative impacts to other animals, land and water.
At the April 29th meeting in Cologne, the SumOfUs delegation will present signatures from over one million individuals worldwide as well as speak to an official shareholder counter-motion that directly questions Bayer’s investment in neonics. In the countermotion against Bayer executives, concerned shareholders allege that the company’s use of neonics contradicts policies regarding the health and safety of employees, neighbors, customers, consumers, and the environment.
“Bayer’s reliance on the revenues from neonics impairs the long term value of Bayer shares. There is growing worldwide opposition mounting against the use of neonicotinoids that Bayer cannot continue to ignore,” said SumOfUs campaigner, **Anne Isakowitsch. “Instead of investing significant resources to counter these very legitimate concerns, Bayer should be commissioning research to alternatives that are not as toxic.”
“In its policy on sustainability, Bayer claims that future viability and that lasting commercial success is only possible if we balance economic growth with ecological and social responsibility. In the case of neonicotinoids, Bayer is clearly putting its principles aside to seek short term profits.”
Mounting concern from scientific research and customer preferences to ban neonics are reaching a tipping point. In December 2013, the European Union enacted a two-year ban on three neonics. In March 2016, the French Parliament approved a ban on neonics. Two of Canada’s provinces, Ontario and Quebec, have neonic bans in place – one of which just won when appealed in court. Maryland, a U.S. state, is expected to pass a bill banning stores from selling products laced with neonicotinoids. Scotts MiracleGro, a major US pesticide company, has also indicated it is phasing out bee-harming pesticides.
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