A Deceitful Narrative

Dow-DuPont, Bayer-Monsanto, and ChemChina-Syngenta portray their respective mergers as milestones in agricultural and chemical innovation, productivity, and sustainability. Yet their narrative greatly differs from the sad reality of these mergers.


Dow-DuPont, in making the case for the merger, and while committed to “market-driven research and development, backed by world-class engineering capabilities,” states that they will be better equipped to not only “deliver differentiated products and solutions,” but also “uphold sustainability” and “use science and innovation to tackle world challenges.” They would do so, the company added, while maintaining a “best-in-class safety culture.” Appealing to investors in particular, Dow-DuPont has outlined its plan to create three independent companies that will be “more competitive than either company could be on its own and well equipped for science-driven, profitable, long-term growth.13


Similarly, Bayer-Monsanto states that the merger will build upon a “strong culture of innovation, sustainability and social responsibility” and help them “produce sufficient, safe, healthy and affordable food.” Repeating the familiar and seemingly selfless pro-farmer narrative, they state that the merger is also “good for our growers... because they have better choices to increase yields in a sustainable way.” Similarly appealing to and reassuring investors, Bayer-Monsanto states that “this step will significantly strengthen our position as a leading life science company in the world.”14


Finally, ChemChina-Syngenta’s merger echoes that of the other heavy-hitters, mixing claims of increased revenue and market control with social and environmental responsibility: “The company aims to profitably grow market share through organic growth and collaborations, and is considering targeted acquisitions with a focus on seeds. The goal is to strengthen Syngenta’s leadership position in crop protection and to become an ambitious number three in seeds. Key drivers for the next phase of growth will be further expansion in emerging markets, notably China, the stepping up of digital agriculture tools, and ongoing investment in new technologies to increase crop yields while reducing CO2 emissions and preserving water resources.”15

Yet, apart from profitability for investors and the corporations themselves, the narrative of these mergers as milestones in agricultural and chemical innovation, productivity, and sustainability that has been proffered by these corporations cannot be further from the truth.