ADM moves to strengthen no-deforestation policy following Green Century° shareholder proposal
For immediate release: Thursday February 9th, 2023
Annie Sanders, Director of Shareholder Advocacy, firstname.lastname@example.org, 773-272-6691; Mark Morgenstein, Media Relations Director, email@example.com, 678-427-1671
Boston, February 9, 2023 – Archer-Daniels-Midland Company* (ADM), one of the largest agricultural companies in the world, has agreed to take important steps to help protect South American ecosystems critical to the fight against climate change.
In response to a shareholder proposal filed by Green Century Funds°, Robeco, and BNP Asset Management, ADM agreed to conduct a feasibility study in 2023 to determine when it can eliminate “native vegetation conversion” from its soy and corn supply chains in South America and issue a correlated commitment. In exchange, investors withdrew the proposal. Native vegetation conversion, or repurposing wild land for agriculture and other uses, degrades ecosystems such as the Cerrado savanna in Brazil that are vital for preserving biodiversity and mitigating climate change.
“Places like the Cerrado may be less well-known than the Amazon, but they’re just as important when it comes to protecting our planet from biodiversity loss and climate change,” said Leslie Samuelrich, Green Century Funds’ president. “ADM’s commitment is an important step toward getting these critical biomes the safeguards they need.”
Food & agriculture contributes one-third of global climate emissions
In 2020, ADM reported 97% deforestation- and conversion-free volumes for Brazilian soy and announced at COP27 a commitment to conduct a global assessment in 2023 of the risk of native vegetation conversion to soy production. Green Century’s proposal asked ADM to expand its current plan to include an independently verified commitment to eliminate native vegetation conversion from its global supply chains by 2025.
“The global food and agriculture industry contributes about one-third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions,” said Annie Sanders, director of shareholder advocacy at Green Century Funds. “We look forward to working with ADM to eliminate native vegetation conversion in its supply chains as soon as possible in South America – and beyond.”
Soy production is a leading cause of native vegetation conversion in South America
Soy production is a leading cause of native vegetation conversion in South American biomes and part of a broader decline of South American wilderness. As the world’s most biodiverse savanna, the Cerrado houses 5% of the world’s animals and plants including vulnerable species such as jaguars, maned wolves and giant anteaters. The Gran Chaco forest between the Cerrado and the Andes Mountains is the second-largest forest in South America, behind only the Amazon rainforest. Agriculture is projected to supplant millions of additional acres of native vegetation in the Gran Chaco by 2030.
“Forests are not the only landscapes that need protection. The Cerrado, for example, feeds 8 of 12 of Brazil’s major river basins and three aquifers. Native vegetation clearance has already been linked to decreased rainfall,” said Adam Kanzer, head of stewardship, Americas for BNP Paribas Asset Management. “Current policies could lead to very serious near-term consequences for Brazilian agriculture and human health. We commend ADM for agreeing to take a hard look at what it would take to adopt a more holistic approach to its most important South American supply chains.”
“By signing the COP26 Glasgow deforestation pledge, Robeco has committed to work towards eliminating agricultural-driven deforestation from our investment portfolios by 2025. For many years our engagement has focused on forest biomes such as the Amazon and boreal forests. However, with increasing corporate and legislative action on deforestation, pressures on non-forest biomes such as the Cerrado and Gran Chaco are growing.” says Peter van der Werf, Executive Director Active Ownership at Robeco. “By strengthening their approach to wider native vegetation conversion, ADM is protecting its license to operate and moving towards a future proof business model, safeguarding their key productive assets: the land and ecosystem services they depend on.”
About The Green Century Funds
°Green Century Capital Management, Inc. (Green Century) is the investment advisor to the Green Century Funds (The Funds). The Green Century Funds are one of the first families of fossil fuel free mutual funds in the United States. Green Century Capital Management hosts an award-winning and in-house shareholder advocacy program and is the only mutual fund company in the U.S. wholly owned by environmental and public health nonprofit organizations.
*As of September 30th, 2022, Archer-Daniels-Midland Company comprised 0.00%, 0.29%, and 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund, the Green Century Equity Fund, and the Green Century International Index Fund respectively. As of the same date, other securities mentioned were not held in the portfolios of any of the Green Century Funds. References to specific securities, which will change due to ongoing management of the Funds, should not be construed as a recommendation by the Funds, their administrator, or their distributor.
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