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The case study of Monsanto company is an illustration of one’s reputation problems due to controversially ethical activities. A corporate image is the assessment of the company by consumers. It can be classified into internal – the perception of the object by its personnel, and external – the assessment by customers, partners, and competitors. The positive image allows you to consolidate the position of the company in the market.
It is necessary not only for large commercial enterprises but also for government structures (hospitals, schools, charitable foundations) to attract resources and support from the population and the media. Organizational culture is an important component of a company’s successful activity, which is the basis of its rapid growth. With the help of corporate culture, the company survives in the fight against competitors, reaches new heights, dynamically develops, and strengthens its position.
Modern agricultural biotechnology and its related ethical issues are fundamental problems of Monsanto company, and it is based on advances in cellular and molecular biology. Genetic engineering can be defined as techniques and methods that provide directional modifications in the hereditary properties of an organism through direct gene transfer or exposure to genes that determine a particular genetic trait. In the past decades, biotechnology has rapidly moved from the field of scientific research to practical use. It is widely used in the pharmaceutical, chemical, and microbiological industries, such as Monsanto.
One of the areas of biotechnology is the creation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which include animals, plants, microorganisms, and viruses created using genetic engineering methods (Krimsky, 2015). The transfer of a gene from one organism to another is called a genetic transformation, and a formed body with new properties is transgenic, or genetically modified. For example, for tomatoes or strawberries to become frost-resistant, they are “implanted” by the genes of northern fish; in order to prevent maize from being devoured by pests, a gene derived from snake venom is “grafted” into it.
The use of biotechnology implementations is another key problem in Monsanto, which is perceived by the public ambiguously. Therefore, many people express controversial attitudes about applying biotechnological methods in the pharmaceutical and microbiological industries to produce various drugs, enzymes, and vitamins. The alternative solution is to use the same achievements of biotechnology because they can protect the environment from the adverse effects of industrial or agricultural waste (Krimsky, 2015).
For example, Monsanto should develop technologies that can generate bio-degradants for cleaning the soil from pollution by oil, oil products, dioxins, and organophosphorus substances. When the question addresses GMO implementation in agriculture for the reasons for obtaining food, the world community shows strong concern. It is about the dangers of genetically modified food on people’s health and farm animals’ well-being, the negative impact of GMOs on biodiversity and ecology.
Additionally, Monsanto faces a risk of imperfections in the current stage of the technology of creating genetically reconstructed plants. There are dangers of adverse GMO effects on biological diversity, which is defined by genetic variation. The less genetically diverse a population is, the less resistant it is to changing environmental conditions. Some organisms can be perfectly adapted to certain specific ecological conditions due to the properties developed during evolution.
However, as soon as these conditions change dramatically, this population may die out if its genetic diversity is not enough for variability and acquisition of new properties (Edwards, 2015). Another alternative solution for Monsanto is genetically modified crops grown in the natural environment in the fields. They can, through cross-pollination with common plants of the same species, transfer their genes to them and thus contribute to their resistance for uncontrolled spread, thereby reducing biological diversity risk.
The main recommendation would be to fully analyze the current statistics and address public opinion. Both alternative approaches can be applied, however, using the same advancements for reverse effect is more appealing, because the analysis for the given solution can be seen with data. The potential impact of Monsanto’s GMOs on human and animal health, on the environment, and biological diversity in both the medium and long term is actively discussed at the international and national levels. The number of inhabitants of the Earth over the last century has increased from 1.5 to 7 billion people, and by 2020 it is expected to grow to 8 billion, while there is a shortage of food, despite the fact that over the past half-century, its production has increased 2.5 times (Edwards, 2015).
The positions of various countries on this issue depend on many factors: the attitude of the government to biotechnological research, future risk level, the ability to eliminate possible risk, the advantages of using biotechnology, interests of certain groups of people, social aspects, and moral and ethical standards. However, the existing points of view on the problem can ultimately be combined into two groups. Although people state that the use of GMOs does not bring any harm and will solve the problem of food shortages, the opponents of GMOs claim that these products are toxic, reduce reproductive performance, and pathological changes in animal organs.
In conclusion, the development of diagnostic methods does not keep pace with the introduction of new agrobiotechnology developments by large firms, such as Monsanto. Developed, validated and applied test systems are mandatory only for some important GM crops. Due to the lack of reliable information on the structure of genetically engineered structures introduced during genetic modification, test systems for identification cannot be developed, not to mention quantitative measurement, not only for the emerging GMO lines but even for a large number of those already on the market.
Edwards, S. (2015). Avoiding genetically modified foods in GMO Ground Zero: A reflective self-narrative. Journal of Health Psychology, 20(5), 500-510.
Krimsky, S. (2015). An illusory consensus behind GMO health assessment. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 40(6), 883-914.