With 17,500 employees, a 2006 sales figure of $7.5 billion and operations in 46 countries, Monsanto is the world leader in genetically modified organisms (GMOs), as well as one of the most controversial corporations in industrial history. Since its founding in 1901, the company has faced trial after trial due to the toxicity of its products, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polystyrene, devastating herbicides like Agent Orange, used during the Vietnam War, and bovine growth hormones, which are unauthorized in Canada and banned in Europe.
Today, Monsanto has reinvented itself as a "life sciences" company converted to the virtues of sustainable development. Thanks to its genetically modified seeds, engineered among other things to withstand Monsanto's Roundup, the world's bestselling herbicide, the company claims it wants to solve world hunger while reducing environmental damage. Where does the truth lie?
The World According to Monsanto pieces together the story of the St. Louis, Missouri, corporation, calling on hitherto unpublished documents and first-hand accounts by scientists, civil society representatives, victims of the company's toxic activities, lawyers, politicians, and representatives of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency. Based on a three-year investigation in North and South America, Europe and Asia, the film tells the tale of an industrial empire that, thanks in part to misleading reports, collusion with the American government, pressure tactics and attempts at corruption, has become one of the world's biggest seed manufacturers. It shows how the clean, green image conveyed by the company's advertising serves as a smoke screen for Monsanto's quest for market supremacy, to the detriment of global food security and environmental stability.
Studio: Mongrel Media
Screenplay: Marie-Monique Robin