Corporate Accountability and Responsibility
Green Century believes that in addition to addressing specific environmental concerns, we must also advocate that companies implement effective corporate governance and accountability policies within their organizations. We believe that good corporate governance practices are a necessary pre-requisite to promoting legitimate corporate sustainability.
- Lead Issue: Stopping Political Spending
The 2012 election cycle was the most expensive election in history, with U.S. corporations financing roughly one third of the total expenditures. Green Century is asking some of last year’s largest contributors to refrain from political spending.
Green Century has established itself as a leader in advancing the position that corporations should not spend funds to support political candidates, arguing that political spending poses a legitimate business risk. For example, in 2010, Target Corporation* was subjected to consumer boycotts and protests for its support of a controversial candidate. Green Century and our allies at Trillium Asset Management broke new ground by becoming the first institutional investors to call on companies to refrain entirely from political spending. Green Century filed this proposal with Target, and Trillium filed with the Bank of America* and 3M.*
Advocating for Transparency and Disclosure of Political Contributions
As trade associations, including the Chamber of Commerce and American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC ), play an increasingly key role in shaping policy, it is more important than ever for companies to be transparent and accountable for their political contributions; shareholders need to know that corporate funds are not used in a way that may harm the environment or the long-term interests of the company. We are encouraging companies to adopt comprehensive policies to ensure transparency and accountability in their political spending.
Increasing Transparency and Disclosure of Lobbying Expenditures
It is critically important for shareholders to understand how company resources are being spent in efforts to change public policy. Green Century is encouraging companies to increase transparency and disclosure on all lobbying expenditures, including indirect funding of lobbying through trade associations.
* As of March 31, 2013, Target Corp. comprised 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund and 0.69% of the Green Century Equity Fund; and 3M comprised 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund and 1.14% of the Green Century Equity Fund. As of the same time, the Green Century Balanced Fund and the Green Century Equity Fund did not hold Bank of America. 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 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.