APRIL 15, 2014 // BOSTON, MA – Responding to pressure from investors and consumers, Avon Products (Avon)* announced that it is eliminating the hazardous and toxic chemical triclosan — a suspected endocrine disruptor — from all of its beauty and personal care products effective immediately. The Green Century Equity Fund filed a shareholder proposal urging Avon to adopt a safer chemicals policy and applauds Avon’s decision to address the growing consumer concern about the presence of dangerous chemicals in personal care products.
“Consumers should not have to choose between health and beauty,” said Lucia von Reusner, shareholder advocate at Green Century Capital Management. “As a company that brands itself as ‘the company for women,’ Avon’s decision to eliminate ingredients linked to breast cancer from its products is the obvious choice for protecting both its customers and its reputation,” said von Reusner.
The Green Century Equity Fund re-filed its shareholder proposal urging Avon to adopt a safer chemicals policy this year, after the proposal received support from 18% of shareholders in 2013. “Consumers trust Avon to provide high quality, safe products. Reassuring consumers that their chemical safety concerns are being answered is absolutely critical for maintaining consumer trust,” said Gary Matthews, a CPA and financial advisor who spoke in support of Green Century’s 2013 resolution at Avon’s annual meeting.
”There is growing momentum in the marketplace for companies to move faster than lagging regulators in tightening up chemical safety standards for their cosmetics and personal care products,” said Richard Liroff, Executive Director of the Investor Environmental Health Network. “We’re glad to see Avon taking action on triclosan, joining the other merchants who have stepped up to the plate as ‘retail regulators.’”
The presence of toxic chemicals in everyday personal care products such as lipsticks, baby shampoo, and beauty salon products has received significant media coverage and put pressure on companies to provide safer alternatives. A 2011 Deloitte survey found that 57% of respondents cited safety as their number one concern when buying personal care products.¹ Carcinogens such as 1,4-dioxane, triclosan, and phthalates are some of the hazardous chemicals of concern commonly found in many personal care products.²
Recently, major product retailers and manufacturers have announced policies to reduce consumer exposure to hazardous chemicals in every day products. In the past year, Procter & Gamble*, Johnson & Johnson*, and mega-retailers Target* and Walmart* all announced policies for reducing customer exposure to toxic chemicals by phasing out chemicals known or suspected to cause serious health risks.
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Green Century Capital Management is an environmentally responsible investment advisory firm that manages two fossil fuel free mutual funds – the Green Century Balanced Fund and the Green Century Equity Fund. Founded by a partnership of non-profit environmental advocacy organizations in 1991, Green Century Capital Management provides people who care about a clean, healthy planet the opportunity to keep their money out of environmentally irresponsible companies and use the leverage of their investment dollars to encourage environmentally responsible corporate behavior. Visit Green Century or greencentury.com.
The Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN) is a collaboration of investment managers and advisors advocating for safer corporate chemicals policies to grow long-term shareholder value and reduce financial and reputational risks to companies.
* As of March 31, 2014, Avon Products, Inc. and The Procter & Gamble Company comprised 0.10% and 0.00%; and 3.55% and 0.00% of the Green Century Equity Fund and the Green Century Balanced Fund, respectively. Other securities mentioned were not held in the portfolios as of March 31, 2014. The holdings of the Green Century Funds may change due to ongoing management of the Funds. References to specific investments should not be construed as a recommendation of a security by the Funds, their advisor, administrator, or distributor.
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