You are Russell S. Bell, an executive at Stringer Company Incorporated (SCI), a leading Canadian
chemical production company. You are tasked with determining the future direction of the company, as
the company is trying to situate itself for future profit generation, in the highly competitive chemical and
agricultural biotechnology market. SCI is the pioneering force behind agricultural biotechnology, and
herbicide based Glyphosates. You are to write a brief to help guide the board’s decision on that extent, all
things considered, they should pursue international production and distribution of seed and herbicides.
Stringer Company Incorporated: Innovation and Engineering
SCI began as Stringer and Sons, a company that was instrumental in creating the synthetic fibres industry.
Nylon, the first synthetic fibre, was created by the SOAChemical Company in the 1930’s. Stringer and
Sons engineers, working side by side with SOA, were quick to realize the market based potential of mass
produced synthetic fibres, and alerted the board to invest heavily in the industry. By the late 1940’s, SCI
engineers had created SB-1104, the most resilient and durable synthetic fibre on the market, and became
the Canadian manufacturing industry supplier for all things synthetic and/or petrochemical based. By the
mid 1950’s, SCI was the leading Canadian plastics manufacturer, supplier, and distributor.
While plastics was a highly lucrative and successful marketplace to dominate, SCI, a chemical company
at its basis, heavily invested in herbicide production, and led pioneering research into Glyphosates, which
would then set the basis for Weedstop, a broad spectrum systemic herbicide used to kill weeds in farm
fields, gardens, lawns, and parks. Weedstop is considered the industry standard for herbicide
internationally, and has a market leading stock price of over $287.50 per share.
SCI’s most productive success came in the mid-1980’s; in the 1970’s, SCI created and funded a
biotechnology innovation department. Engineers and scientists began to genetically modify plant cells,
which led to genetically modified crops, and the creation of agricultural biotechnology, a marketplace that
SCI again dominates.
SCI: Economic Implications:
SCI is one of Canada’s principal employers. SCI has several production sites in each Canada province,
and territory, and is a significant employer inAmerican markets. SCI employs over 75,000 Canadians,
has a further 35 production sites located in the Northeastern United States, and is the single largest foreign
employer on American soil.
SCI production sites create boomtowns in the surrounding areas, and stimulate economic growth. In
areas already near production sites, the nearby communities enjoy great economic stimulation, as
production sites require hiring highly skilled engineers and scientists. These production sites produce the
world’s supply of Weedstop. SCI commonly refers to its larger production sites as campuses, and each campus has both a lavish production site, and areas designated for SCI’s industry leading innovation and
R&D. It is from here that SCI controls NorthAmerica’s agricultural biotechnology industry.
Plastics manufacturing has been successfully moved to NorthernAboriginal territories, and off-shored to
Caracaola, Puerto Cablana.
The Canadian government has partnered with SCI on many successful research ventures that have
increased Canada’s biotechnology profile internationally. SCI is so well respected, and powerfull in the
agricultural industry, that the Canadian government has formed a partnership with SCI to advance
research addressing famine relief in the developing world. SCI enjoys unfettered access to Ottawa’s most
important Ministers. In fact, the Minister ofAgriculture, O. Little, is SCI’s recently retired CEO.
SCI invests heavily in local communities that have production sites. SCI has consistently been the largest
donor when surrounding communities have built schools, hospitals, research centres, and Universities.
SCI creates jobs at an astounding rate, and the company holds it as its “social responsibility that they train
and hire employees from local 1nd neighbouring communities, and compensate them at a much higher
rate than any other industry.” Industry to service SCI continues to grow, as the boomtowns that spring up
near production sites are economically viable.
European, Asian, andAfrican markets have recently begun to stock Weedstop on their shelves, and sales
have exploded as a result, with share prices inching towards $350.75 per share. International demand for
Weedstop has sent SCI stock prices through the roof, and SCI is looking to expand production of
Weedstop in each of its NorthAmerican production sites, while investigating the (highly lucrative)
possibility of off-shoring elsewhere in the developing world. Arecent envoy to countries surrounding
Puerto Cablana found that nearby governments are willing to set up favourable contracts if SCI were to
base its European Weedstop production and distribution centres there. This expansion would create 10s
of thousands of jobs internationally, and generate billions of dollars in revenue for SCI.
SCI: Economic Implications: Agricultural Biotechnology:
Company lore holds O. Little, the CEO under which they have achieved their most current success, noted
that the effectiveness of Weedstop made him intrigued by the opposite, creating plants and seeds that
could withstand increasingly harsh pesticides and herbicides, while maximizing yield. SCI, with the help
of the brightest minds in biotechnology, was the first to genetically modify a plant cell, a practice that
revolutionized biotechnology and agricultural production. SCI continued to expand on their industry
establishing biotechnology, and was the first to produce genetically modified crops. SCI had its eye
firmly on the implications of their advancements in agricultural biotechnology, and shrewdly obtained
biological patents for all aspects of what they consider “proprietary data.” SCI created the idea of profit
driven agricultural biotechnology, and is the single most dominant player on the genetically modified
organism (GMO) market.
1 Barksdale,A. SCI – Our Story. Shamonda Press. 1985. P 23. The biotechnology arm of SCI is of significant international import. SCI’s scientist and engineers are
amongst the world’s most highly skilled and trained, with additional Ph.Ds. required to maintain
employment at SCI. SCI produces GM seeds for the majority of NorthAmerica’s agricultural production,
seeds that contain traits that do not occur naturally. For example, seeds modified with SCI-40-SS are
resistant to chemical treatments, certain pests/mites, diseases, and environmental conditions such as
drought. SCI also distributes millions of litres of the herbicides that work in tandem with these seeds,
these pesticides destroy the cell structure of pests, while being repelled by the seed’s GM cell structure.
SCI is the single biggest employer of scientists and engineers in NorthAmerica, and the production and
distribution of herbicides accounts for 25% of SCI’s overall workforce. SCI also employs thousands of
individuals that move from farm to farm, from agricultural plot to agricultural plot, overseeing the
administration and maintenance of their pesticide program.
SCI’s Political Clout:
SCI has long been known as the jewel of the Canadian economy. Industry insiders continue to marvel at
SCI’s ability to evolve with the changing marketplace, as the company has had four different iterations
(chemical company, plastics manufacturer, pesticide/herbicide producer, and agricultural biotechnology)
that have all dominated the marketplace. As each element of SCI’s evolution unfolded, the company was
able to finds its interests reflected in government policy. In the 1940’s, when SCI first began investing
heavily in synthetic fibres, the Canadian government, interested in ways to solidify its economic base,
allowed for modest subsidies and tax breaks to encourage SCI to maintains in base of headquarters in
Canada. With each passing decade, as SCI became a principle Canadian corporation, the Canadian
government continued to provide incentives for SCI to remain based in Canada. In fact, one of the single
most important drivers in SCI’s advancements in GM seeds is the Canadian government’s staunch
defence of GM products, reflected through industry and agricultural policy. It is said that 80% of the food
that North American consumers enjoy contains SCI produced GMOs (genetically modified organisms).
What has been largely underreported, however, is that fact that SCI’s influence in Canadian policy
extends far past its current agricultural interests. SCI’s interests are reflected in industry standards
pertaining to the treatment of employees, and chemical disposal regulations. In the 1940’s, when SCI was
concentrating on plastics production, the terms and conditions of labour agreements for those working
with chemicals mirrored the interests of SCI, with the government essentially allowing SCI to write
Federal labour codes and standards. In 1945, after Macleans magazine published a largely congratulatory
piece on SCI, critics seized on the sentence that “absenteeism in SCI is rampant, and employees routinely
leave work in a dazed like fashion, after being exposed to the chemicals present in chemical
manufacturing.” SCI executives, caught off guard by this assertion, first responded by discrediting and
denouncing the story, and then more ominously, successfully lobbied the government to let them become
their own industry watchdogs, and make it illegal for employees to inform outside sources of any of the
conduct of SCI that “concerns proprietary data.” The company also made it “illegal for individuals or
2 A. McNulty, “SCI,ACanadian Success Story.” Macleans Magazine. Issue 6, Volume 13. !945. companies to publish any information regarding the company, its goods, or the production of these goods”
without first gaining the expressed written approval from the company.
Subsequent SCI sanctioned investigations made it clear that there was a connection between their
chemical production and adverse health effects, but as this slowly became apparent, SCI shut down all
investigation of their products, and took over all of the research. SCI then pledged to protect their
workers from neglect, and sought to obtain a 51% stake in the leading manufacturing health research
watchdog organization. SCI began funding the Manufacturing Sustainability Committee and adopted the
platform that they were “committed to communities, and committed to providing the goods that
consumers want, while pursuing sustainability as its goal.” In the years since the initial Macleans report,
information regarding the health status of SCI workers has been largely absent, an issue made more
curious because SCI is Canada’s largest employer.
In the early 1990’s, the Canadian Cancer Society discovered a link between a rare type of lung cancer,
carcilogenna (CR-G), and workers who had ties to SCI pesticide production, and was set to publish an
explosive paper that would document SCI workers, and their disproportionate CR-G rates. SCI was
tipped off by government insiders about this paper, and bought the research company in charge of the
investigation, thereby taking over the research, and shuttered the research facility that was on the cusp of
making breakthroughs in identifying this new and aggressive form of cancer. In taking over this research,
SCI, in a press release, stated “we have the most vested interest in SCI providing a safe and healthy
workplace, and it is our best interests to pursue this research ourselves.” As a result of their investigation,
SCI published a widely discredited “report” that made no mention of the chemicals that SCI employees
are exposed to in the workplace, CR-G, or elevated risks of cancer.
SCI also responded by relocating several of its more high profile production sites to Krakaria,
Wharington, anAboriginal community located in the Northwest Territories. SCI views these
communities as “being more receptive to donations” and far more willing to allow SCI conduct their own
“oversight of the disposal of chemicals” as these isolated Northern communities focus instead on the jobs
and infrastructure investment that SCI brings. In Krakaria, SCI controls “all information related to
measuring and reporting its environmental outputs.”
An internal memo shows that SCI researchers have become increasingly concerned with the myriad of
chemicals that employees are exposed to, but at the same time, these memos also show SCI’s
management unwilling to even entertain the idea that their products may have negative health effects
associated with them. Researchers who were investigating a rare and uncommon type of kidney disease
that is disproportionately appearing in employees have begun to piece together connections between
exposure to Weedstop in its production stage, and these diseases. These researchers, however, have been
the target of their own companies. In a move that has bred dissention in SCI, researchers who have made
the most progress identifying CR-G as a cancer causing agent, have been the subject of threats of
aggressive legal action, and in September 2011, SCI forced its CR-G researchers to sign non-disclosure
3 SCI’s 2001 Corporate Social Responsibility Report. Page 24.
4 SCI Internal Memo, June 2005. waivers, reassigned them to other departments within the company, and then discredited their research by
releasing SCI approved documents that directly contradicted their scientifically proven results.
Other researchers, without the help of SCI, are also investigating the health consequences of exposure to
chemicals connected to SCI. It is quite clear that the findings from the research conducted by SCI
scientists would serve as the missing link in identifying the link between herbic5de exposure and poor
health, but SCI is in “no hurry to contribute to this inflammatory research.” SCI continues to hire
scientists conducting research into the health effects associated with CR-G, making them sign waivers
that makes their findings the legal property of SCI. SCI has funded TheABII (Agricultural
Biotechnology Innovation Institute) the foremost leader in international agricultural biotechnology
research. SCI essentially employs all of the leading researchers in herbicides, pesticides, and agricultu6al
biotechnology, and is now said to dictate any and all international research relating to these fields.
SCI’s Philanthropic Endeavours:
SCI is a worldwide leader in philanthropic endeavours and is NorthAmerica’s most admired company. In
2012, SCI donated $350 million dollars to heart disease and diabetes research in Canada. SCI provides
all of the food for soup kitchens in every major city across Canada, and has a Healthy Food distribution
program in rural communities. SCI earmarks 7% of its yearly profits (a staggering figure because SCI is
a multi-billion dollar corporation) for charity, stating “we want Canada to benefit in far greater ways that
just an increase in our GDP.” In 2012, SCI donated over $425 billion dollars in cash, and a significant
portion of GM seeds, towards what they term “worthy social goals.”
SCI’s most valuable contributions have come in the form of its positive contributions towards reducing
hunger and famine nationally, and internationally. SCI’s agricultural technology has made vast increases
in crop yields a reality. Before SCI relocated production sites to Krakaria, Wharington, it was recognized
as one of the poorest regions in Canada, with 90% of its residents falling far below Health Canada’s daily
recommended caloric intake. When they moved there, SCI donated millions of dollars in GM seeds, and
the required herbicide, to aid in improving their agricultural yields. Just three years later, Krakaria, and
the surrounding communities, no longer struggled to reach the recommended caloric intake, and began
exporting the grain and vegetables that they produce to other Northern communities, successfully
contributing to eradicating hunger for Canada’s poorest residents. In Krakaria specifically, the influx in
grain and vegetables on the market has also helped lower the prices, as the yields have greatly increased
5 SCI Internal Memo, October 2011.
6 Scientist engaging in SCI approved research conclude that outside research, conducted without any contributions
from SCI whatsoever, is about 15 years away from making advances in isolating CR-G as a potential contributor to
cancer, and then another decade or so of research into CR-G as a cancer causing agent. In the interim, SCI will
continue to make windfall profits, and destroy any links to CR-G and the production of their goods. SCI executives
are also confident that they can use their connections to the Canad