Is advocating sustainability a "gaffe"? Bayer Crop Science, the agricultural research division of the multinational chemical company, seemed to think so.
After tweeting a Vox article about a study that found "going vegetarian can cut your food carbon footprint in half," Bayer came under fire from the livestock industry. Angry farmers threatened to boycott Bayer, demanding an apology.
Bayer quickly kowtowed to the pressure. First, it deleted the tweet. Then it apologized, profusely and repeatedly. Bayer tweeted, "The livestock industry has our full support," and "it was never our intention to antagonize it--sorry!" The celebration of meat continued in a blog post, where Bayer encouraged readers to learn more about beef--from websites funded by a beef marketing program.
Observers could not help but notice the speed with which Bayer went from sharing scientific research to pandering to industry interests. One Twitter user asked, "How about an apology for the apology?" Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection at the Humane Society of the United States, compared Bayer's actions to "a major company in the 1970s [admitting] that smoking causes cancer, only to be bullied by the tobacco lobby into a retraction."
As reducetarians, we should not be afraid to voice our opinions and share our knowledge. Be proud of your life choices, encourage others to learn more about them, and support companies that are in line with them.
Written by Cameron Meyer Shorb