Today in the Fortune 500: Pfizer’s overseas challenge, big agribusiness moves on Mexican corn and Nike strides towards sustainability.

December 10, 2010, 6:24 PM UTC
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The Fortune 500 comes out just once a year, but the companies on it make headlines every day. Here then are today’s highlights of news and happenings coming from the biggest names in business.

By Shelley DuBois, reporter

TOMORROW, THE WORLD Pfizer appointed a new head of emerging markets in its quest to push more of its products to the corners of the globe. The job goes to David Simmons, previously the president and general manager of Pfizer’s (PFE) established current products business unit. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

Simmons has a tough but crucial job ahead of him. Pfizer’s new CEO Ian Read identified emerging markets as an important growth area for the company, which already gets 18% of its revenue from foreign sales. Pfizer will also have to face falling drug prices in China, which is an important market. [Wall Street Journal]

PLANTING THE GENETICALLY MODIFIED SEEDS Fortune 500 Agribusiness companies Monsanto (MON), DuPont (DD) and Dow Chemical (DOW) are slowly creeping into Mexico after a moratorium on genetically modified corn lifted in 2009. Supporters of the GM crops hope to import less pesticide-resistant plants from the US. Protesters fear that the mass-produced produce will breed with and contaminate native strains. [Wall Street Journal]

SUPERRISKY? Grocery store operator Supervalu Inc. won’t get out of its current financial rut for a while, according to Moody’s Investor Services, which downgraded the company’s bond ratings. Supervalu (SVU) has a good recovery strategy, according to Moody’s, but it probably won’t affect the bottom line until after some serious borrowing. [Bloomberg]

LOTS OF SHOES, SMALL FOOTPRINT A sustainability rating called “Climate Counts” lists Nike (NKE) at the top of the list of companies trying to cut down their carbon footprint. Other Fortune 500 companies considered to be “striding” towards sustainability include HP (HPQ) and UPS (UPS). [Fast Company]

NIGHT VISION HEATS UP due to breakthrough technology for infrared systems used on military applications. Lockheed Martin (LMT) has created a way for infrared systems to work at a higher temperature, reducing the need for cooling, and making them more efficient. [United Press International]

AS THE WORLD TWEETS Chief of marketing at Procter & Gamble (PG) talks about how these days, it’s spending its substantial advertising budget on social media stunts like the Old Spice man’s real-time social media blitz instead of shelling out for soap operas, as it did in the past. [NPR]