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BUSINESS & POLICY: Call for immediate withdrawal of WWF from the RTRS from major German environmental organisation



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:   CALL FOR WWF TO WITHDRAW FROM RTRS - FROM MAJOR GERMAN ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANISATION

SOURCE:  GM Watch, UK

AUTHOR:  Deutscher Naturschutzring, Germany

URL:     http://www.gmwatch.eu/latest-listing/1-news-items/12885-call-for-wwf-to-withdraw-from-rtrs-from-major-german-environmental-organisation

DATE:    15.02.2011

SUMMARY: "The results of the new study GM Soy: Sustainable? Responsible? published in September 2010 by nine eminent scientists, most of them from South America, are alarming! Their key finding is: GM soy cultivation is neither sustainable nor responsible but just the opposite. It has lead to an enormous increase of glyphosate use, because of the spread of glyphosate-resistant superweeds. These have led to devastated farmland and forced farmers onto a chemical treadmill of using even more toxic herbicides in ah attempt to control the weeds."

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CALL FOR WWF TO WITHDRAW FROM RTRS - FROM MAJOR GERMAN ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANISATION

NOTE: The DNR (German umbrella organisation for environmental NGOs) has sent letters to WWF International and WWF Germany protesting against WWF?s membership in the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS), a corporate-led greenwash initiative. Other members include Monsanto, Syngenta, ADM, Cargill, Bunge, etc. The study referred to in the letter, GM Soy: Sustainable? Responsible?, can be downloaded in six different languages from this page on the GMWatch website, which also contains links to other related material.

http://www.gmwatch.eu/component/content/article/12479-reports-reports

Other resources:

Direct link to full report in English

http://www.gmwatch.eu/images/pdf/gm_full_eng_v15.p

Devastating video news report about effects of glyphosate spraying on GM soy in Argentina (with English subtitles).

http://www.gmwatch.eu/gm-videos/26-gm-in-latin-america/12580

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Letter from Prof. Dr. Hartmut Vogtmann, First Vice President, Deutscher Naturschutzring (German League for Nature and the Environment)

to WWF International Gland, Avenue du Mont-Blanc CH-1196 Gland

9 February 2011

Call for immediate withdrawal of WWF from the RTRS

The results of the new study GM Soy: Sustainable? Responsible?[1] published in September 2010 by nine eminent scientists, most of them from South America, are alarming! Their key finding is: GM soy cultivation is neither sustainable nor responsible but just the opposite. It has lead to an enormous increase of glyphosate use, because of the spread of glyphosate-resistant superweeds. These have led to devastated farmland and forced farmers onto a chemical treadmill of using even more toxic herbicides in ah attempt to control the weeds.

According to the research of Andres Carrasco, one of the authors and professor and director of the laboratory of molecular embryology at the University of Buenos Aires Medical School, Argentina, glyphosate causes malformations in frog and chicken embryos at doses far lower than those used in agriculture. Carrasco also noted in his study, that he was prompted to carry out his research by reports of dramatic rises in rates of human birth defects located in areas of Argentina where glyphosate is sprayed on crops.

Carrasco?s study is just the latest in a long series, showing that glyphosate and Roundup have serious toxic effects on health. These effects have been found at levels far lower than those used in agriculture.

All these damages to the environment and human health are endorsed by the RTRS and WWF International as one of its founders. We are writing to you to urge WWF International to withdraw from the RTRS. Deutscher Naturschutzring (DNR), German League for Nature and Environment - cannot accept that WWF International protects a failed system of agriculture and secures the profits of companies like Monsanto and BP. At the RTRS it is WWF International that plays the key role. It wouldn?t make any sense if biotech and oil companies assure each other that the GM soya they produce or use is sustainable. But if WWF international blesses GM soya as ?sustainable? or ?responsible? it protects narrow business interests and not people and the environment.

Please be aware that the evidence of the irresponsibility of GM soya production is so immense that sooner or later the reputation of WWF International as an environmental organisation will be affected and perhaps ruined on the long run. These activities of WWF International are in contradiction to the ?Basler Kriterien?, produced and published jointly by WWF Switzerland and COOP, in which a demand for production free of GMOS is explicitly expressed.

A similar problem is also located in the ?better cotton initiative?. WWF participates in this. This initiative understands itself as ?technical neutral? and doesn?t foreclose gene-modified cotton.

Attachment: Study GM Soy Sustainable? Responsible?

We are looking forward to hearing from you soon. With kind regards, Prof. Dr. Hartmut Vogtmann

1. Antoniou, M., Brack, P., Carrasco, A., Fagan, J., Habib, M., Kageyama, P., Leifert, C., Nodari, R., Pengue, W. 2010. GM Soy: Sustainable? Responsible? GLS Gemeinschaftsbank and ARGE Gentechnik-frei. http://bit.ly/9D9J2k



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:   SUIT FILED FOR YUMA MIGRANT WORKERS

SOURCE:  Yuma Sun, USA

AUTHOR:  James Gilbert

URL:     http://www.yumasun.com/news/workers-67462-bridge-monsanto.html

DATE:    07.02.2011

SUMMARY: "According to attorney Pamela Bridge, who is representing the workers, in June 2010 Monsanto recruited the workers from San Luis, Ariz., to detassel corn in Indiana. The workers, she added, were promised free transportation to Indiana, decent, free housing and certain wages. According to the lawsuit, however, once the workers arrived in Indiana, they were housed in an overcrowded, substandard hotel. Furthermore, it contends, they were not paid for a couple of weeks and had no way to get food."

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SUIT FILED FOR YUMA MIGRANT WORKERS

Community Legal Services, a not-for-profit civil law firm in Arizona, filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the Monsanto Company on behalf of 16 U.S. migrant workers from Yuma County, including a 13-year-old boy, for egregious employment practices.

According to attorney Pamela Bridge, who is representing the workers, in June 2010 Monsanto recruited the workers from San Luis, Ariz., to detassel corn in Indiana. The workers, she added, were promised free transportation to Indiana, decent, free housing and certain wages.

According to the lawsuit, however, once the workers arrived in Indiana, they were housed in an overcrowded, substandard hotel. Furthermore, it contends, they were not paid for a couple of weeks and had no way to get food.

?These people were experienced farmworkers who know what to expect,? Bridge said. ?They know the standard practices and that they shouldn?t have been treated that way.?

The lawsuit also alleges that while in the fields, the migrant workers were not given the proper equipment, which caused most of them to receive blisters. The workers were also never paid for all of the wages promised to them.

?The conditions were so egregious that a group of the workers called Community Legal Services from a pay phone in Indiana,? Bridge said. ?I contacted attorneys for Monsanto at that time and informed them that not only were several of the workers unhappy, but at least one of the workers was injured.?

Bridge said that after a couple of weeks, the workers returned to Arizona.

She explained that the federal Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Protection Act provides agricultural workers with certain protections concerning their wages, transportation and employment housing. For instance, an employer has to pay the wages promised to the workers and cannot change the terms and conditions of the working conditions.

?I?m glad they are speaking out,? Bridge said. ?Sometimes workers are afraid to speak up. For them to do it had to be really bad.?

If the employer houses the workers, the housing has to comply with state and federal standards.

?Monsanto placed the workers in an overcrowded hotel in which the workers, including the 13-year-old, had to take turns sleeping on the floor,? Bridge said. ?We are concerned because we have sued Monsanto before for almost the exact same bad practices yet they continue to take advantage of our Arizona low-wage workers.?

The workers are asking for statutory and compensatory damages under the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Protection Act and the Arizona Wage Payment Act in addition to injunctive relief against Monsanto to prevent future violations.