Bayer today released a report by law firm Sidley Austin that cleared FleshmanHillard of illegal behavior connected with its work on behalf of the German company’s Monsanto unit, maker of Roundup herbicide.
The Omnicom unit in 2016 and 2017 compiled lists of European politicians, journalists, scientists and other influencers who had expressed health concerns about the weed killer.
France’s media raised concerns that creation of the such dossiers may have violated ethical principles and legal regulation.
S&A’s concluded: “There is no question that the stakeholder lists created were detailed, methodical, and designed to strongly advocate Monsanto’s positions to stakeholders and to the public. But we did not find evidence to support the French media’s allegations regarding the illegality of the stakeholder lists.”
The law firm rejected the notion the dossiers resulted from illegal surveillance, determining the content came from press articles or social media accounts.
It said the lists didn't track the hobbies, leisure activities or personal interests of those who were tracked.
With the release of the report, Bayer has completed its probe into Monsanto’s PR activities.
“We are happy that the independent investigation concluded with no findings of illegal behavior, which provides a strong foundation for our outreach and stakeholder engagement going forward,” Matthias Berninger, Bayer’s head of PA and sustainability, said in a statement.