Countermotion to Item 3: The actions of the members of the Supervisory Board are not ratified
Bayer sells several products that have a similar effect to hormones and are therefore harmful to health. The Group is engaging in intense lobbying in an attempt to impede the E.U.’s plans to have these substances withdrawn from circulation. This type of business conduct is irresponsible. The actions of the members of the Board of Management therefore should not be ratified.
Hormones act as the body’s messengers. They play an important role in its natural regulatory system. For instance, these biochemical substances control bone growth, sugar and fat metabolism, the digestive system and sexual development. However, if something disturbs the transmission of these signals, false messages are received and bodily functions are completely derailed. And scientists have identified certain chemicals – so-called endocrine disruptors (EDs) – as “disturbers” for some time now. Many of these substances resemble hormones in their composition and therefore have great potential to cause irritation. Potential consequences: Diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, dysfunction of the nervous system and immune system, as well as heart, liver and uterine disorders.
BAYER manufactures a wide range of these substances. And many of these, such as the insecticide for caterpillar control RUNNER, are supposed to stimulate hormonal responses. It is one of the insect growth regulators which the European lobby association of agricultural giants, the “European Crop Protection Association” (ECPA) describes as follows: “Pheremones and insect growth regulators are used in crop protection in particular for their effect as endocrine disruptors, to interrupt the reproduction process or to shorten the life cycle of insects.
However, in the case of many other Bayer agrochemicals, the impact on the endocrine system is categorized under “risks and side-effects.” This also applies to other BAYER substances with hormone-like characteristics, such as plasticizers or the industrial chemical Bisphenol A, of which the Group produced around 1.2 million tons in 2011 alone.
Scientists have been warning about the dangers posed by endocrine disruptors since the 1990s. However, politicians only identified a need for action after the turn of the millennium. The European Commission had planned to specify criteria for the definition of EDs by the end of 2013. This spurred BAYER to action. The Group used all available means in an attempt to influence the Commission’s decision and to find the most industry-friendly solution possible. In June 2013, the company sent a letter to the Deputy Secretary General for the Secretariat-General of the European Commission, Marianne Klingbeil. “The Environment Directorate-General currently favors a concept which is based of the precautionary principle (hazard assessment). This means fundamentally moving away from the principle of risk assessment and will have far-reaching, serious consequences for the chemicals sector and agriculture industry (particularly due to the cut-off criteria applied to crop protection products, which would lead to a loss of marketing approval),” BAYER warned. More than 37 pesticides would be at risk as a result of a ban. Taking two different studies as a basis, the company calculated that a ban on triazole antifungal drugs would result in a 20 percent fall in productivity and a harvest loss of up to 40 percent.
And these lobby efforts by BAYER and other chemical multinationals have proved effective. The criteria for defining EDs which, following long delays, were finally introduced by the E.U. in June 2016 largely correspond to the industry’s requirements. The decision was correspondingly tough for environmental organizations and experts. “These proposals infringe upon the precautionary principle”, states the PESTICIDE ACTION NETWORK (PAN). The initiative criticized that if the proof that pesticides contained properties that were harmful to hormones had originally been sufficient for the introduction of a regulation, this should in effect establish the harmful effect these have on humans. “The PAN criticized the E.U. Commission’s proposal for the definition of EDs as being “completely in favor of the pesticide and chemical industry.”
In addition to the Board of Management the Supervisory Board is responsible for marketing harmful endocrine disruptors and keeping them in circulation and its actions should therefore not be ratified.
We request notification of this countermotion and the reasons for it pursuant to Sections 125, 126 of the German Stock Corporation Act (AktG). The stockholders are asked to transfer their voting rights to the Coalition against BAYER Dangers.