Quiksilver and Monsanto: bedfellows
[4/1/2014 See also: Kelly Slater’s Ethical Choice to Leave Quiksilver]
Suicide has become the second leading cause of death in India among young adults. Of these, about 10% may be farmer suicides. While there is some contention about the numbers, there have been enough rural suicides in the Maharashtra region (India’s largest industrial region) to perk the attention of activists like Vandana Shiva who see a correlation in the suicides to Monsanto’s Bt cotton seed.
Monsanto illegally introduced Bt cotton technology in India in 1995 with the help of the World Bank who required the Indian government to deregulate the seed sector. As a result, Monsanto now controls 95 percent of the cotton seed market via “intellectual property” claims in India.
The sterile seeds that Monsanto provides to Indian cotton farmers has resulted in a major crisis leading to particularly severe suicide rates in those farmers who use Bt cotton seeds in 2011-2012.
While doing my research on sourcing after the Bangladesh disaster, I wrote: “Many of the men’s dressier [surf] clothing is made in India” and “Women’s [surf] clothing, perhaps due to the current fashion trends, is by and large made in India…”
Made in India
Further research has made it absolutely clear that while Quiksilver’s icon, Kelly Slater, is taking a stand regarding Monsanto’s gross misconduct in Hawaii with genetically modified organisms related to our food supply, he is missing an intimate Monsanto link to his own company, Quiksilver.
Quiksilver and Monsanto
In 2011, Quiksilver Inc. and Reliance Brands Industries joined business to launch a core action sports movement in India surrounding surfing. The Reliance group has an “exclusive long-term licensing agreement” to launch Roxy and Quiksilver in “India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh.”
See Lessons in Marketing Excellence. We see this surf corporation insertion in India also in Billabong’s corporate nurturing of what should have been a unique female surfing venture, but has, in my mind, been corrupted into a corporate fem-washing.
These are examples of how good people are manipulated for corporate greed.
What makes Quiksilver’s involvement in India resonate with outright hypocrisy and a frightening Chomskian “profit over people” corporatism is that Reliance Brands Industries has a direct connection with Monsanto via their Vice President, Santanu Dasgupta.
It is almost enough to brandish the fact that 95 percent of Indian cotton is Monsanto owned Bt cotton and the majority of Roxy/Quiksilver and many other surf brands are produced there (and/or use non-organic cotton, which invariably contains Bt cotton), but it is quite another to willingly engage with a company who has a VP with years of calculated involvement with the very devil you wish to publicly and politically position yourself in opposition to.
What the hell is going on here?