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Monsanto Seeks PR Counsel Amid NGO Opposition

EMEA, Global, North America

Arun Sudhaman 17 Jun 2013

ST LOUIS, MO--Monsanto is seeking public relations counsel as the seed giant attempts to counter fierce opposition to its products in many countries around the world.

The Holmes Report understands that the company has issued an RFP that involves PR and social media counsel. 

According to sources familiar with the situation, Monsanto is aiming develop a more cohesive communications approach, in the face of sustained NGO criticism.

Once dubbed 'the world's most evil corporation', Monsanto is no stranger to criticism. Earlier this year, a 'March Against Monsanto' protest was held in numerous countries, following a Facebook campaign that attacked the company's promotion of genetically modified crops.

The company recently signalled that it will not attempt to expand its GMOs in many European countries, because of public opposition.  

While acceptance of GMO crops in other regions is higher, Monsanto has found itself battling US farmers. The company recently won another round in its legal battle with organic growers, but faces new lawsuits from farmers regarding GMO wheat.

The US Senate recently rejected an amendment that would require mandatory labelling of GMO foods, despite pressure from consumer groups. The Biotechnology Industry Organization, which includes Monsanto, DuPont and other major players, has said that it supports voluntary labelling.

State legislatures in Vermont and Connecticut, meanwhile, are pushing ahead with mandatory labelling plans, while Whole Foods has said it will implement its own labelling policy by 2018. 

Monsanto is not thought to work with a PR agency-of-record in the US, but has enlisted support Burson-Marsteller and APCO on recent projects.

Representatives from Monsanto did not respond to request for comment as this story went live.

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