Contact: Lucia von Reusner, Green Century Capital Management, 617-482-0800, firstname.lastname@example.org
May 20, 2015: Concerned that the agribusiness giant is exposed to severe risks due to the large-scale forest clearance taking place across its global supply chains, shareholders are voting on a proposal filed by Green Century Capital Management urging Bunge Limited to establish clear goals to curb this environmental degradation at the company’s annual shareholder meeting today. Bunge is among the largest suppliers of agricultural commodities globally, exporting key ingredients like soybeans and palm oil to companies around the world. Production of these crops has become a leading driver of deforestation, which causes key risks including soil erosion, declines in local rainfall, species extinction, conflicts with local communities over land rights, and climate change.
“Clearing forests to grow food destroys the very ecosystems that agriculture depends on, and is a short-term business model that poses long-term threats to global food security and our climate,” stated Lucia von Reusner, Shareholder Advocate for Green Century Capital Management, the environmentally responsible mutual fund company that filed the shareholder proposal with Bunge. “As one of the world’s largest agricultural suppliers with a stated mission to feed the world, Bunge’s refusal to tackle this obvious threat to its business model is frankly illogical and very concerning to investors.”
Clearing forests for agriculture has become the single leading driver of deforestation globally. As one of the world’s largest processors and distributors of agricultural commodities, Bunge has significant influence over agricultural supply chains around the globe, meaning that the company both contributes to and is highly exposed to the negative impacts of deforestation. Bunge is one of the world’s leading soy traders and a top soy exporter in Latin America, where soy production is a leading driver of deforestation, degrading sensitive ecosystems like the Amazon Rainforest and the Gran Chaco forest. Bunge’s profits have taken a hit in recent years due to ongoing droughts and extreme weather in key geographies, which are likely to have been exacerbated by deforestation.
Recognizing the risks associated with destroying forests, a growing number of companies have adopted no-deforestation sourcing policies for key ingredients, often in response to consumer and investor concerns. Major consumer goods companies including Kellogg’s,* Procter & Gamble,* Unilever,* and more, have adopted no-deforestation sourcing policies for their palm oil purchases to avoid having these controversies linked to their brands and reputation. Green Century worked directly with Kellogg’s, ConAgra,* and Smuckers* to secure these policies. Bunge is a key supplier to many of these companies.
In response to the growing demand for deforestation-free ingredients, major agricultural suppliers and key Bunge competitors including Cargill,* Wilmar,* and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM)* have adopted policies to ensure that the ingredients they supply do not contribute to deforestation. Most recently, Green Century convinced ADM to adopt the first no-deforestation sourcing policy for both palm oil and soy, which it announced at its annual shareholder meeting earlier this month. In contrast, Bunge does not have practices in place to monitor and reduce deforestation taking place across its global supply chains. While the company announced a no-deforestation policy for the palm oil it sources, it has not released a timeline for when it expects to have implemented this policy.
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Green Century Capital Management is the investment advisor to the Green Century Funds and offers two environmentally and socially responsible funds, the Green Century Equity Fund and the Green Century Balanced Fund. Green Century works to curb climate change through fossil fuel free investing, reinvestment in sustainable companies, and advocating with companies to improve their environmental policies and supply chains. Green Century also is the only U.S. mutual fund company owned by environmental non-profits, the Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs).
*As of March 31, 2015, Bunge Limited, Kellogg Company, The Proctor & Gamble Company, Unilever and The JM Smucker Company comprised 0.00% and 0.16%, 0.00% and 0.24%, 0.00% and 2.96%, 0.00% and 0.87%, and 0.49% and 0.16% of the Green Century Balanced Fund and the Green Century Equity Fund, respectively. Other securities mentioned were not held in the portfolios of the Green Century Funds as of March 31, 2015. 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.
Stocks will fluctuate in response to factors that may affect a single company, industry, sector, or the market as a whole and may perform worse than the market. Bonds are subject to risks including interest rate, credit, and inflation. The Funds’ environmental criteria limit the investments available to the Funds compared to mutual funds that do not use environmental criteria.
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This information has been prepared from sources believed to be reliable. The views expressed are as of the date of this writing and are those of the Advisor to the Green Century Funds.
The Green Century Funds are distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC. 5/15