The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an environmental nonprofit headquartered in New York City. The organization focuses much of its attention on climate change and pollution, but NRDC also maintains a public stance against crop biotechnology, arguing that Americans can’t get information on GMO foods because biotech companies “have a stranglehold” on the federal agencies that protect our food supply. NRDC has also sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to block the introduction of GMO crops.
NRDC collaborates with prominent individuals in the anti-GMO movement, as well. The nonprofit worked with environmental journalist Paul Thacker, for instance, to draft its policy on financial conflicts of interest. In a May 2016 interview with Carey Gillam, director of research at the anti-GMO group U.S. Right to Know (USRTK), Thacker credited USRTK for exposing “…. cozy ties between …. seemingly independent scientists and the biotech industry.” The scientific community has challenged the assertion that USRTK uncovered anything unethical, noting that public researchers frequently collaborate with industry.
NRDC has similarly alleged that Monsanto and the EPA “had a disturbing level of communication and collaboration” while the federal agency was reviewing Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup. However, the EPA’s evaluation of glyphosate matches the consensus view of experts around the world.
During a February 2018 congressional hearing, NRDC senior scientist Jennifer Sass defended the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) against accusations of corruption. The agency’s critics said IARC deliberately excluded data from its review of glyphosate, which made the herbicide look more dangerous than it is. Evidence from independent news reports and court documents suggested that IARC’s report was unduly influenced by anti-GMO advocates. As a result, The U.S. Congress attempted cut funding to IARC in August 2018. Sass said the criticisms that later led to scrutiny of IARC were “…. largely sponsored and coordinated by the agrochemical industry…”
Annual Revenue: $190,397,688 (2018)
Total Assets $414,196,299 (2018)
Major Donors (total contributions 2012-present)
Foundation for the Carolinas $38,140,500
Energy Foundation $3,626,000
Ford Foundation $3,045,075
John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation $3,010,000
Marisla Foundation $3,000,000
Tomkat Charitable Trust $2,000,000
Bloomberg Family Foundation $1,763,900
David and Lucille Packard Foundation $1,250,000
Marty and Dorothy Silverman Foundation $1,085,000
Schmidt Family Foundation $1,000,000
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