For the benefit of anyone who is still laboring under the misapprehension that anti-biotech campaigners are just warm, cuddly, health-food nuts who mean well, consider the latest disturbing trend: activist groups are issuing phony investment reports in order to directly attack the profitability of companies with whom they politically disagree. The basic message is that shareholders should be terrified of owning stock in a company that dares thumb its nose at environmental scaremongers.
Last week an investment research firm called Innovest Strategic Value Advisors issued a scathing report on Monsanto, telling the crop biotech company’s shareholders that it suffered from “above-average risk exposure” and “will likely under-perform in the market over the mid to long-term.”
The media found out about this report via a press release from Greenpeace, which cheerfully volunteered that Innovest’s report was “commissioned by Greenpeace” in the first place. Monsanto fired back, saying that the report was “highly biased and cherry-picked information” used “in order to further a political agenda.”
On the very same day, Ralph Nader’s “Public Interest Research Group” (PIRG) organization issued its own exercise in cherry-picking, this one targeted at Kraft Foods. The PIRG’s report warns investors that “Kraft’s use of genetically engineered ingredients poses risk of product recalls and liability lawsuits.”
And considering that the PIRG’s news release was made under the auspices of the “Genetically Engineered Food Alert” — a project of noted fear-mongering PR firm Fenton Communications — it looks like David Fenton is making money by trying to destroy his clients’ political opponents.
So much for meaning well.