As Bayer waits for the final go-ahead from regulators to merge with Monsanto, the company is coming to terms with what its role could be as the largest agriculture business in the world.
“The reality is Bayer is going to come together with Monsanto and this is going to be the biggest company in the agricultural space. With that, it’s going to have an awful lot of responsibility,” said Liam Condon, CEO of Bayer CropScience at a roundtable Bayer recently convened in Washington, DC. The discussion was designed to bring together all manner of non-industry stakeholders including environmental groups, nonprofit organizations, academics and a local corn, soy and wheat farmer.
Condon said the conversation was about gauging “expectations” for the new company, signaling that Bayer is aware of the controversy it is taking on with this deal.
In case there were any illusions that public perception of Monsanto had warmed, the St. Louis company made USA Today’s list of the “America’s Top 20 most-hated companies” this past February – which was compiled using data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, employee testimonials on Glassdoor, and USA Today internal data.
Though the table was stocked with probable opponents of Bayer and Monsanto such as the Environmental Defense Fund, the conversation focused around what Bayer can do to build trust with the various stakeholders and consumers more broadly.
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