Researchers read of an industry that "bullied its critics, overwhelmed government regulators and used the global agricultural and food systems as a source of profits at the expense of many participants"
GMOs are a bad financial risk, according to an incisive and well-written report by Portfolio 21, an investment management group with about US$500 million mutual fund, based in Portland, Oregon.
In an email to subscribers, the company's president, John Steur, gave his reasons for sharing their research with the public: "As we got into our background research, we read of an industry that bullied its critics, overwhelmed government regulators and used the global agricultural and food systems as a source of profits at the expense of many participants. It was disappointing, disturbing and even a little hard to believe. Then, we got a small taste of this treatment ourselves when we were denied permission to use certain data for our report that we had obtained from a pro-GMO public website.
Steur added, "The underlying premise of GMOs may actually hold some positives for society, but the way the companies that control this technology use it prevents the potential benefits from being achieved. We are left with many negatives. Portfolio 21 will continue to avoid these companies and our current research strengthens our long held position."
The Case Against GMOs
An environmental investor’s view of the threat to our global food systems
Portfolio 21, September 2014
Consumers are becoming increasingly educated on their eating habits and the consequences of these choices. In addition to raising questions concerning the health effects of consuming GMOs, the spread of this information builds up negative perceptions of the agricultural biotech corporations and the industry as a whole.
Given the information and the choice, an increasing number of consumers (and the companies that cater to them) are becoming less accepting of GMOs. The market, especially among consumers in wealthy countries, has pushed GM crops to the low end of the market, where they are now a cheap choice for animal feed, biofuel feedstock, and heavily processed food. Additionally agricultural biotech companies must contend with litigation costs, settlements, and “restructuring charges” arising from failed deployments.
Mechanized agriculture, in some form, is likely necessary to feed the number of people in the world today. GM agriculture is not. It has so far provided insufficient and inconsistent benefits for the amount of risk it entails. Genetically modified agriculture, as it is currently practiced, should be far down the list of solutions for securing the global food supply.