Special Report

20 Corporations Behind the Most Ocean Pollution

Agrochemical Companies

Source: Maja Hitij / Getty Images


Following its acquisition of seed maker Monsanto last year, the German multinational pharmaceutical and chemical company became the world’s largest supplier of seeds and agricultural chemicals. These chemicals are a key source of nonpoint water pollution. Like the oil that leaks from vehicles, pesticides like the ones produced by Bayer wind up in rivers that carry agricultural runoff into the oceans.

Source: Sean Gallup / Getty Images


The Switzerland-based, Chinese-owned agrochemical and seeds producer was the world’s largest by sales in 2017 before Bayer took first position following its acquisition of Monsanto last year. As the second largest agrochemical and seeds producer, Syngenta is one of the largest suppliers of herbicides and pesticides used in agricultural activity. These chemicals wash into rivers that carry them into coastal ecosystems.

Source: Immanuel Giel / Wikimedia Commons


The largest chemical company in the world by revenue is also a leading producer of agricultural pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. The German multinational company ranked third in agrochemical sales in 2017. Many of these chemicals wind up in the ocean through nonpoint water pollution, meaning there is no single specific source of contamination.

Source: U.S. Department of State / Flickr


DowDuPont finalized on June 3 the separation of its agricultural business unit into a standalone company, Corteva Agrisciences. The move comes after the completion of a merger between Michigan-based The Dow Chemical Company and Delaware’s E.I. du Pont de Nemours in 2017. The merger made DowDuPont the fourth largest seller of agrochemicals, the segment now under the Corteva name. Herbicides, pesticides ,and fertilizers pollute ocean water from rainwater runoff that makes its way to rivers, tributaries, and coastal wetlands.

Source: Shlomo Katzav / Wikimedia Commons


The Israel-based, Chinese-owned company is a leading producer of agricultural chemicals and the world’s largest producer of generic pesticides. It was acquired by China National Chemical Group in 2011. ChemChina later bought Syngenta, putting two major agrochemical producers under one parent company. Herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers pollute oceans through rainwater runoff into rivers.