Press Release Contact: Kyle W. Kempf, Green Century Capital Management, firstname.lastname@example.org, (617) 482-0800
Boston, September 24, 2020 – The world’s largest asset managers continue to fail the world’s forests.
A new Friends of the Earth report – Doubling Down on Deforestation: How the Big Three Asset Managers Enable Consumer Goods Companies to Destroy the World’s Forests – exposes the complicity of BlackRock, Vanguard,* and State Street* in global deforestation.
In 2010, the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), a consortium of the world’s largest retail companies, committed to achieving zero-net deforestation in its members’ supply chains by the end of the decade. It is clear that most CGF companies will not meet this deadline, although Green Century° has continued to press individual CGF companies, including Procter & Gamble* and Kroger,* to do so.
The repercussions of this dereliction are staggering: global deforestation increased 43% between 2014 and 2019. And BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street did next to nothing to stop it.
The report found that BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street, which collectively hold $698 billion in stocks and bonds of CGF companies, failed to provide specific and substantial policies regarding deforestation to guide investments. They failed to hold companies accountable for indirect emissions in their value chains. And they failed to effectively and transparently engage with companies to improve their forest commodities supply chains.
The Big Three even failed to support shareholder resolutions aimed at ending deforestation. None of The Big Three managed to support a single one of the 16 deforestation-related shareholder resolutions that have gone to a vote since 2012.
“It is imperative that large asset managers, especially BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street, recognize the material risk posed by deforestation,” said Green Century President Leslie Samuelrich. “Frankly, it’s stunning that they did not support a single deforestation-related shareholder proposal in eight years, and that must change.”
Tropical deforestation accounts for annual carbon emissions equal to the amount produced by the entire European Union. Deforestation is also tied to other material risks, including soil erosion, biodiversity loss, and disrupted rainfall patterns.
“Asset managers can’t be said to be comprehensively addressing climate risk if they aren’t addressing the source of almost a quarter of all anthropogenic emissions – deforestation and land use change,” said Jessye Waxman, the shareholder advocate focused on forest protection at Green Century. “Voting proxies is one way that financial institutions can demonstrate their commitment to addressing climate risk. I hope that at least one of the Big Three start to recognize that and vote in favor of our resolution with Procter & Gamble in October.”
About Green Century Capital Management
°Green Century Capital Management is the investment advisor to the Green Century Funds. The Green Century Funds are the first family of fossil fuel free, responsible, and diversified 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 June 30, 2020, BlackRock, Inc. comprised 0.00%, 0.59%, and 0.00%; State Street Corporation comprised 0.72%, 016%, and 0.00%; Procter & Gamble comprised 0.7%, 2.11%, and 0.00%; and The Kroger Company comprised 0.00%, 0.19%, and 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund, the Green Century Equity Fund, and the Green Century 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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