Annie Sanders: Reporting back on my first few months as Green Century’s director of shareholder advocacy
It’s hard to believe I started as Green Century’s director of shareholder advocacy just four months ago. I want to share what my first few months on the job have been like beyond the words “whirlwind” and “inspiring” – though that could certainly sum it up!
Since the beginning of July, Green Century’s advocacy team has engaged 45 companies, filed 32 shareholder resolutions, and has already won 10 majority votes, commitments or policies to set greenhouse gas reduction targets, protect tropical forests, reduce plastic pollution, improve animal welfare, and more. I’m incredibly proud of the hard work we’ve put in and the tangible results we’ve won – all of which is only possible thanks to the support of our investors.
You may be wondering – what exactly does a company engagement look like? Let’s take our engagement with Hormel Foods* as an example. You’ve probably heard of SPAM, Hormel Chili, or – a classic for boomers – Dinty Moore Beef Stew. Hormel is one of the 10 biggest meat processing companies in the world, and to produce its extensive line of meat products, Hormel sources beef from, among other places, South America. Maddeningly, the first half of 2022 broke records for deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, where the practice of clearing land for cattle production drives 90% of deforestation. After we filed our proposal asking Hormel to address deforestation in its supply chain, the company engaged in several discussions with Green Century to learn more about these biodiversity risks. In November 2022, Hormel committed to eliminate deforestation from its supply chains by 2025 and only source beef that wasn’t raised on destroyed rainforests, helping to protect endangered species like the jaguar and macaw for years to come.
On our Preventing Plastic Pollution work, we filed a proposal at Sysco*, the largest food distributor in the world, on reducing the company’s plastic packaging. Though not necessarily a household name, you’ve probably seen Sysco’s trucks around town delivering food to hospitals, grocery stores, schools, and other institutions. The company lacks a sustainable packaging policy, which is rapidly becoming an industry standard due to plastic’s potency as a major polluter of oceans and other wildlife habitat worldwide. After Green Century’s proposal won an overwhelming 92% majority vote in November, Sysco committed to issuing a comprehensive report in 2023 detailing how it can reduce its overall plastic use, which will help protect ocean wildlife and reduce microplastics in our food and water.
And then sometimes, wins come unexpectedly. After engagement with Green Century last spring, Lowe’s Home Improvement*, the second largest home improvement retailer in the US, committed to producing a report by December 2022 detailing how it could accelerate its efforts to stop selling wood linked to deforestation and the degradation of primary forests in its supply chain. Along with the promised assessment, Lowe’s went one step further and included a set of industry-leading sustainable wood sourcing commitments – informed by Green Century’s conversations with the company – that will help protect forests, including the Canadian boreal, around the world.
This kind of impact is at the heart of Green Century’s work. Through our engagements, Green Century’s advocates make the case for why companies must act to protect the natural world they depend on for their business – and that all of us depend on for a livable planet.
Thank you for your investment in that impact, and for making our work possible.
About 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, environmentally responsible mutual funds. Green Century 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 30, 2022, Hormel Foods Corporation, Sysco Corporation, and Lowe’s Companies, Inc. comprised 0.00%, 0.09%, and 0.00%; 0.61%, 0.23%, and 0.00%; and 0.00%, 0.76%, and 0.00% of 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.
You should carefully consider the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses before investing. To obtain a Prospectus that contains this and other information about the Funds please visit www.greencentury.com, email email@example.com, or call 1-800-934-7336. Please read the Prospectus carefully before investing.
A sustainable investment strategy which incorporates environmental, social and governance criteria may result in lower or higher returns than an investment strategy that does not include such criteria.
Stocks will fluctuate in response to factors that may affect a single company, industry, sector, country, region or the market as a whole and may perform worse than the market. Foreign securities are subject to additional risks such as currency fluctuations, regional economic and political conditions, differences in accounting methods, and other unique risks compared to investing in securities of U.S. issuers. Bonds are subject to a variety of risks including interest rate, credit, and inflation risk.
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The Green Century Funds are distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC. 235 W Galena Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212. 2/23