The case analyses the failed introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in Europe by Monsanto. Showing how a favourable context (the legacy of mad-cow disease) made it relatively easy for consumer groups and environmentalists to wage successful anti-GMO campaigns in Europe, the case examines how Monsanto attempted to deal with its image problem and how the company's efforts backfired. The case then moves on to show how the industry's public-relations crisis grew into a transatlantic trade dispute pitching the U.S. administration against the E.U. Commission, analyzing the legal, economic and political issues raised by the dispute.
The case's objective is to provide a particularly rich context for a discussion of the following issues: How to handle major PR crises (short run) and stakeholder dialogue (long run). The evolution of the international regulatory and political context in which product innovation takes place (e.g. the precautionary principle). Hidden protectionism through product standards, and how it can be identified and dealt with through the WTO's non-discrimination rules.
- Government relations
- Stakeholder relations