The Monsanto Company has set an unofficial record for most people united against it, with over 2 million people marching in the streets annually each May as part of the March Against Monsanto movement.
The name Monsanto has become a burden to virtually anyone involved with it, at least in many different public sectors, but the moniker could be a thing of the past if a possible merger with Switzerland-based agrochemical giant Syngenta goes down.
According to this article from the website NationofChange.org, Monsanto ranked 58th out of 60 companies in a Harris Poll in “reputation quotient,” making it the third-most hated company polled.
There’s an unmistakably high level of vitriol toward Monsanto and its globally recognized name.
But according to Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant, that sentiment won’t factor in to a monumental possible change that could happen soon with the company.
“You Won’t Have Monsanto to Kick Around Anymore…”
According to Grant, who was quoted in a letter released today about the the merger, Monsanto “would also propose a new name for the combined company to reflect its unique global nature.”
Grant did not mention anything about the worldwide protests against his company, however.
At least one consumer advocate has already called Monsanto out, saying that the company is doing it mainly to avoid the scrutiny, boycotts and movements against it.
“Monsanto wants to escape its ugly history by ditching its name,” said Gary Ruskin, who is the co-director of U.S. Right to Know.
“This shows how desperate Monsanto is to escape criticism: of its products, which raise environmental and health concerns, as well as concerns about corporate control of agriculture and our food system.”
Whether or not the merger happens is still up in the air. But it appears as if the company may be taking a page out of the playbook of two other companies with similar public perception crises: Blackwater, the infamous mercenary group that changed its name to Xe, and Philip Morris, the cigarette corporation that changed its name to Altria.
Seeing as how virtually no one on the streets would recognize the names Altria and Xe, yet Blackwater and Philip Morris are household names, it’s easy to see why Monsanto is so eager to complete this deal, having recently offered billions to complete the Syngenta merger.
Will the new name and a possible new location in the UK allow Monsanto to hide from its past? That much is up to the media, and the grassroots activists who put them in this position in the first place.