Beach Plans? Hotel Plastics May Mar Your Vacation

Green Century° Files Shareholder Proposals Asking Major Hotels To Cut Plastic

(Boston, MA) Dreaming of a pristine tropical escape this season? When you step out of your hotel, in addition to the hot sand between your toes, you may be surprised to find hundreds of plastic containers and bags littering the beach.

Plastic pollution, which often comes from single-use plastics, endangers the world’s most beautiful places by harming biodiversity. Plastic enters the stomachs of seabirds and turtles and damages vital mangrove forests and coral reefs.

It is estimated that 32% of plastic ends up in the world’s oceans each year.

To address financial risk from plastic use, Green Century° announced it has filed shareholder resolutions at major hotel brands Hilton*, Marriott*, and Choice Hotels* asking the companies to measure, disclose, and reduce their plastic use.

“Unfortunately, we are headed the exact wrong direction with plastic pollution,” said Leslie Samuelrich, President of the Green Century Funds. “Corporations have created a growing tidal wave of single-use plastic that is damaging our cherished coastlines.”

Plastic pollution has more than doubled in the past 20 years. Only 9% of plastic is recycled. Source: Geyer R, Jambeck JR, Law KL. Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made. Sci Adv. 2017 Jul 19;3(7):e1700782

While there are many causes of plastic pollution at our favorite destinations, the hotel industry is often overlooked. Hotels supply millions of single-use plastic bottles, bags, mini toiletry bottles, and cups wrapped in plastic each year. Experts suggest that 32% of all plastic packaging ends up in the ocean, and that at least 15% of plastic used by hotels and conferences is unnecessary.

Consumers are increasingly concerned by the single-use plastic crisis, with a Reuters global survey suggesting that 75% of the world’s population would support a single-use plastic ban. Yet, hotel chains are lagging in acknowledging and addressing their contribution to the problem.

“What gets measured gets managed, and these hotel chains are not measuring their plastic habit,” said Douglass Guernsey, a Green Century shareholder advocate working on the circular economy. “Hotels need to understand the amount of plastic waste they are creating and then set goals for reducing it.”

Single-use plastic regulations have gone into effect in the EU, China, India, California and elsewhere around the world. Also, investors are concerned that companies’ contributions to plastic pollution may affect shareholder value and cause environmental harm. Investors representing US $10 trillion in assets signed a statement in 2023 urging immediate cuts to single-use plastic.

Plastic pollution is a major contributor to biodiversity loss

Measuring a company’s footprint can be complex, but it is an increasingly common practice. In 2023, CDP plastic, the sustainability disclosure platform, saw companies worth US $31 trillion voluntarily share information related to their plastic footprint.

Green Century has worked with many notable brands to address corporate plastic footprints, including Costco which recently pledged to share the plastic footprint of its Kirkland Signature brand in Q3 of 2024.

“Nothing we use for less than a minute should pollute our environment for hundreds of years,” said Guernsey. “Our shareholder proposals ask Marriott, Hilton, and Choice to take the commonsense step of measuring their plastic footprints and figuring out what they can cut.”

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, 2023, Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc. comprised 0.00%, 0.21%, and 0.00%, Marriott International, Inc. comprised 0.00%, 0.26%, and 00.0%, and Choice Hotels International, Inc. comprised 0.00%, 0.02%, 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, email, or call 1-800-934-7336. Please read the Prospectus carefully before investing.

An investment strategy that 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.

This information has been prepared from sources believed reliable. The views expressed are as the date of this writing and are those of the Advisor to the Funds.

The Green Century Funds are distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC,  Milwaukee, WI 53212. 1/2024