Biotech giant Monsanto has been criticised for its aggressive corporate lobbying on climate change at the Copenhagen summit.
In a public vote organised by an alliance of NGOs, including Friends of the Earth and Spinwatch, the US agricultural company came out ahead of oil giant Shell and the American Petroleum Institute.
Monsanto was nominated for its promotion of genetically modified (GM) crops as a solution to climate change and for pushing its crops to be used as biofuels.
According to the alliance, the expansion of GM soy in Latin America is contributing to major deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions.
The company has also been lobbying for carbon credits for its RoundUp Ready crops on the basis that it does not need ploughing because it can be heavily sprayed with herbicides.
While not ploughing the fields leaves more carbon in the ground, the alliance says the spread of soy monocultures in Latin America has caused deforestation, the displacement of local people and an increase in the use of herbicides, which have been linked to health problems.
‘Big business must not be allowed to sabotage action against climate change by promoting their vested interests,’ said vote organiser Paul de Clerk from Friends of the Earth International.
‘All the nominated companies have lobbied to protect their own profits and prevent effective action to tackle climate change. Governments need to stop listening to them and choose real solutions to the climate crisis.’
The other nominees for the Angry Mermaid Award for corporate lobbying were:
- American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity
- American Petroleum Institute (API)
- European Chemical Lobby (Cefic)
- International Air Transport Association (IATA)
- International Emissions Trading Association (IETA)
The Angry Mermaid Award
GRAPHIC: What business wants in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is awash with lobbyists of all creeds and colours, but those representing big business interests have more power than most. Here are their demands...
Copenhagen could lead to increase in intensive farming
All sectors must play their part in a global emissions deal, but could including agriculture in the mix lead to an intensification of farming and money for GM crops?
How do you get your GM crops and herbicides into countries that don't want and can't afford them? Simple - you just wait for a crisis, and offer a helping hand...
WWF and Monsanto - is GM soy now okay?
Environmental group WWF has faced a barrage of protest for sitting at the table with the likes of Monsanto and Cargill. Has it gone a step too far to appease the multinationals?
Bill Jordan: I don't think organics will feed the world
Jordans cereals founder Bill Jordan says his company's method of farming can feed the world and safeguard biodiversity