WASHINGTON, Nov. 27, 2001 — On the one-year anniversary of his announcement of the Monsanto Pledge, Monsanto Company President and Chief Executive Officer Hendrik A. Verfaillie today announced a new Pledge commitment focused on bioenergy.
Monsanto today placed the first U.S. corporate order to General Motors for pick-up trucks that use ethanol-based E85 fuel. This is part of a larger initiative Verfaillie announced focusing new research to enhance the use of bioenergy. Bioenergy is power or fuel that is derived from organic matter.
Returning to the Farm Journal Forum in Washington, D.C., Verfaillie reiterated the commitments made through the Monsanto Pledge announced at the forum in November of 2000. Verfaillie reported significant progress toward the goals of the Pledge and announced the new Pledge-inspired bioenergy initiative.
“One thing we committed to in our Pledge was to listen more,” Verfaillie said. “We formed an advisory council of growers – our customers – who told us that we needed to find ways to expand the markets of our customers, specifically identifying the area of bioenergy as a priority.”
Central to the newly announced commitment to bioenergy is the formation of a dedicated team within Monsanto that will research ways to use biotechnology and advanced breeding techniques to improve the quantity and quality of bioenergy, including finding ways to improve the economic and environmental benefits of biofuels. The first initiative of this new team is the first-ever order of new General Motors pick-up trucks that run on E85, a renewable fuel made from starch crops such as corn.
Monsanto will initially purchase 50 of General Motors new E85 Chevrolet Silverado pick-ups, available in 2002. The vehicles will eventually account for the majority of Monsanto’s fleet.
“Growers are our reason for doing business,” said Ross Bushnell, Monsanto’s director of U.S. marketing who led Monsanto’s E85 fleet initiative.
“It is important for us to help build new markets for American producers by investing in renewable energy and, at the same time, reducing our dependence on foreign oil sources,” Bushnell said.
“This program embodies what we hoped the Pledge would inspire at Monsanto — an approach to running our business that is based on broad input, careful consideration and beneficial outcomes,” said Verfaillie.
For more information on Monsanto’s bioenergy initiative and additional details on Monsanto’s E85 fleet announcement, see the backgrounder: “Monsanto’s Commitment to Bioenergy.”
Progress in Fulfilling the Pledge
In addition to the new commitments undertaken through the bioenergy program, Verfaillie updated the forum on other progress made toward fulfillment of the Monsanto Pledge. The Pledge is Monsanto’s conduct for doing business, including five areas of commitment — dialogue, transparency, respect, sharing and delivering benefits.
When Verfaillie announced the Pledge at last year’s Farm Journal Forum, he said:
“We recognize that we have to do more than talk about these commitments. We have to do them. This is something that we will report on so that we are held accountable for our commitment and progress.”