Monsanto Company - Doing Business in India
(13 pages of text)
The executive vice president of sustainability and corporate affairs at Monsanto was facing a difficult situation that could dramatically reshape the firm's business. A decade earlier, the firm had introduced into India, through a joint venture, the first in-the-seed cotton trait biotechnology. This trait protected cotton crops against potentially devastating pests, thereby reducing the need for pesticides and improving yields. Subsequently, three Indian state governments imposed a price ceiling on these biotech seeds. In addition, by 2010, the company was facing competition from over 40 Indian seed companies that offered similar or competing biotechnology cotton seeds. Also, a federal ministry had overruled the recent regulatory approval for a second, indigenously developed biotech crop, brinjal (eggplant). How should a technology innovator such as Monsanto deal with an unpredictable regulatory approval process in an increasingly competitive marketplace? Looking forward, two new in-the-seed trait technologies were being considered for introduction to Indian farmers. Should Monsanto proceed and, if so, how? More generally, what should the firm's long-term approach be in this promising market?
The case encourages students to address issues related to the development of markets for new technologies that face significant, and changing, regulatory scrutiny. With a focus on sustainability, difficult decisions must be made that factor in the benefits and costs for multiple stakeholders. Depending on the specific course, one or more of the following teaching objectives could be emphasized:
- To examine a firm's technological innovation through a multi-faceted sustainability lens.
- To evaluate the influence of different stakeholders (both local and global) and explore potential options for stakeholder management.
- To consider the linkages between pricing, regulatory approvals, and global competitiveness for multiple tiers of an agricultural supply chain.To explore an evolving business model that promises more sustainable outcomes as part of a long-term global strategy.
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
India, Large, 2010
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