Shareholders to Target: "Preserve Shareholder Value – Stop Political Spending"
Wednesday Vote On Resolution Challenging Target Corp. to Protect Against Potential Damage to Shareholder Value by Refraining From Risky Political Spending
June 12, 2012—On Wednesday, Target Corporation* (Target) shareholders will have the opportunity to vote on a groundbreaking new proposal put forth by the Green Century Equity Fund pressing the company to refrain from political spending in an effort to protect against risk.
The Supreme Court’s January 2010 Citizens United decision reversed the long standing prohibition on the unlimited use of corporate treasury funds for political purposes. Shareholders are increasingly concerned that such funds, which can be funneled to SuperPACS, trade associations and other organizations for political use, often without proper oversight or board and shareholder knowledge, could create a risk to shareholder value.
“Target has experienced firsthand the impact that controversial contributions can have on the company’s reputation and employee morale demonstrating that such spending can result in business risk,” said Larisa Ruoff, Director of Shareholder Advocacy for Green Century Capital Management, the investment advisor to the Green Century Funds. “As a result, we believe the only way to eliminate such a risk entirely is to refrain from making political contributions,” she continued.
In 2010, Target made a $150,000 contribution to MN Forward, a group supporting a gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota whose stance on LGBT rights was contradictory to Target’s corporate policies. In response to the donation, the company experienced boycotts, public backlash and degradation of employee morale.
The resolution, which is similar to proposals filed earlier this season by Trillium Asset Management at Bank of America and 3M corporations, would affect only post-Citizens United corporate political spending to influence elections, that is, spending directly from the general treasury for independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or 501(c)(4) corporations that spend to influence elections. The proposal would not affect lobbying expenditures, separate segregated fund contributions, or the ability of employees and executives to make political contributions.
In this election year, resolutions addressing political spending are among the most popular in the 2012 shareholder season, many dealing with disclosure of such spending. This is the first shareholder season for this groundbreaking resolution.
“Citizens United unleashed the floodgates of unlimited corporate political spending. But while citizens across the country are deluged with corporate-sponsored political ads, a broad coalition of shareholders and reform groups has emerged to fight back against the rising waters,” said Blair Bowie, Democracy Advocate at U.S.PIRG, which along with Common Cause, is leading a broader effort against corporate political spending. “Corporate political spending is dangerous for companies and dangerous for our democracy and it is time for companies such as Target to take action to stop these risky practices,” she continued.
“As attention to this issue grows, so do the risks for companies that continue to make political contributions,” said Bob Edgar, President and CEO of Common Cause. “It is time for Bank of America, Target and 3M to realize that this type of political spending is bad for the company and bad for democracy.”
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.
* As of March 31, 2012, Target Corporation comprised 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund and 0.63% of the Green Century Equity Fund; 3M comprised 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund and 1.01% of the Green Century Equity Fund. As of the same date, neither the Green Century Balanced Fund nor the Green Century Equity Fund held Bank of America. Please refer to the Green Century Funds website for current information regarding the Funds' portfolio holdings. 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.
Please refer to the Green Century Funds website for current information regarding the Funds' portfolio holdings. 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.
You should consider the Funds' investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses carefully before investing. To obtain a Summary Prospectus and/or Prospectus that contains this and other information about the Funds, please click here, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-800-93-GREEN. Please read the Summary Prospectus and/or Prospectus carefully before investing.
Stocks will fluctuate in response to factors that may affect a single company, industry, sector, or the market as a whole and may perform worse than the market. Bonds are subject to risks including interest rate, credit and inflation.
The Green Century Funds are distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC. 6/12
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