Shareholders urge 14 top companies to challenge U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers over climate change position
October 16, 2009 – In letters to 14 top companies, 43 investors and investment-focused organizations representing over $16 billion in assets under management urged that the companies end the "glaring contradiction" between their own policies and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's and National Association of Manufacturers' (NAM) positions on pending climate legislation. Each of the companies has publicly stated that it supports action on climate change, which the Chamber and NAM strongly oppose.
The investors, in an effort organized by Green Century Capital Management ("Green Century") and Walden Asset Management, asked the companies to address their disagreement with the Chamber and NAM on climate change policy by withdrawing membership, publicly disclosing their disagreement, or asking the associations to refund the portion of their dues used to lobby on the issue.
According to the letters, this "misalignment of positions" poses serious business and reputational risks to the companies. The Chamber's and NAM's "position and active voice on climate change is especially embarrassing for numerous members who are proactive leaders on reducing greenhouse gases and limiting their negative impact with respect to climate change," it said. "Furthermore, while some companies, including [yours], have articulated a business rationale for a national policy that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, their membership in the Chamber [or NAM] is sending a starkly contradictory message."
Recently, Apple*, Exelon*, PG&E*, PNM Resources*, Duke Energy* and Nike* resigned from the Chamber or NAM or left the Chamber's board over the associations’ strident opposition to pending climate legislation. These companies are also members of coalitions that support policies to curb global warming, such as U.S. Climate Action Partnership (U.S. CAP), Businesses for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), and the Pew Center’s Business Environmental Leadership Council.
Companies that received the letter include: Air Products & Chemicals*, Alcoa*, American Electric Power*, Boeing Company*, Caterpillar*, Cummins*, Deere & Co.*, DTE Energy*, Entergy*, Ford Motor Co.*, General Motors Corporation*, Lockheed Martin*, Whirlpool* and Xerox Corporation*.
"As the manager of environmentally-responsible mutual funds, Green Century strongly believes that climate change is a serious threat to our planet and our economy," said Emily Stone, Shareholder Advocate for Green Century. "We are at a critical crossroads between a polluting, dangerous path and a clean energy future, and we believe it is now more important than ever for companies to take clear action to preserve their leadership roles on this critical issue by distancing themselves from the antagonistic lobbying of business associations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers."
"Companies that are leaders in environmental sustainability and support reasonable and forward looking steps in public policy find themselves in an ethical dilemma and evolving public relations disaster when the trade associations, where they are active and visible members, are frantically trying to roll back the clock and even deny the threat of climate change," said Timothy Smith, Senior Vice President of Walden Asset Management. "Therefore, it is gratifying to see companies like Nike, Apple and Exelon speak out and even resign from the Chamber so that their dues and good name will not be used on the wrong side of this debate."
"Climate change is one of those major issues where misalignment between companies and trade associations carries serious bottom line risks for companies," said Bruce F. Freed, President of the Center for Political Accountability, a non-partisan advocacy organization promoting corporate political transparency and accountability. "Good corporate governance should lead companies to assure that their trade associations do not engage in activities and use their funds in ways that may damage the company's reputation or be at odds with its stated public policy and business objectives."
Investors and investment-focused organizations that signed the letter include: As You Sow, The Basilian Fathers of Toronto, Boston Common Asset Management, Catholic Health East, Catholic Healthcare West, The Center for Political Accountability, The Christopher Reynolds Foundation, Clean Yield Asset Management, The Congregation of St. Joseph, Corporate Governance, Domini Social Investments, Dominican Sisters of Hope, Edward W. Hazen Foundation, Green America, Green Century Capital Management, First Affirmative Financial Network LLC, The Home Missioners of America (Glenmary Home Missioners), JOLT Coalition for Responsible Investments, JPS Global Investments, Marianist Province of the U.S., Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, Maryknoll Sisters, Mercy Investment Program, Inc., MMA Praxis Mutual Funds, Natural Investments LLC, Newground Social Investment, North American Passionist JPIC Office, The Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment, Oxfam America, Pax World Management Corp, Portfolio 21, The Russell Family Foundation, Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, Sisters of Mercy Regional Community of Detroit Charitable Trust, The Sisters of Notre Dame of Toledo OH, The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, Social(k), Strategic Counsel on Corporate Accountability, The Sustainability Group at Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge, Trillium Asset Management Corporation, Unitarian Universalist Association, Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk, U.S. Province, and Walden Asset Management.
*As of July 31, 2009, neither of the Green Century Funds was invested in Alcoa, American Electric Power, Boeing Company, Caterpillar, DTE Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy, Exelon, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corporation, Lockheed Martin, PG&E, or PNM Resources. As of July 31, 2009 Air Products & Chemicals comprised 0.67% of the Green Century Balanced Fund and comprised 0.33% of the Green Century Equity Fund; Apple comprised 1.61% of the Green Century Balanced Fund and was not held by the Green Century Equity Fund; Cummins Inc. was not held by the Green Century Balanced Fund and comprised 0.20% of the Green Century Equity Fund; Deere and Company was not held by the Green Century Balanced Fund and comprised 0.40% of the Green Century Equity Fund; Nike Inc. was not held by the Green Century Balanced Fund and comprised 0.36% of the Green Century Equity Fund; Whirlpool Corporation was not held by the Green Century Balanced Fund and comprised 0.09% of the Green Century Equity Fund; Xerox Corporation was not held by the Green Century Balanced Fund and comprised 0.15% of the Green Century Equity Fund. Portfolio composition will change due to ongoing management of the Funds. Please refer to the Green Century Funds website for current information regarding the Funds' portfolio holding. These holdings are subject to risk as described in the Funds' prospectus. References to specific investments should not be construed as a recommendation of the securities by the Funds, their administrator, or their distributor.
Green Century Capital Management is an investment advisory firm focused on environmentally responsible investing. Founded by a partnership of non-profit environmental advocacy organizations in 1991, Green Century's mission is to provide people who care about a clean, healthy planet the opportunity to use the clout of their investment dollars to encourage environmentally responsible corporate behavior. Green Century believes that shareholder advocacy is a critical component of responsible investing and actively advocates for greater corporate environmental accountability.
You should consider the Green Century Funds’ investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses carefully before investing. For a prospectus that contains this and other information about the Funds, call 1-800-93-GREEN, visit www.greencentury.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing.
The Green Century Funds are distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC 10/09
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