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Boston, May 7, 2021 – At Bunge Limited’s annual meeting, an unprecedented 98% of shareholders voted Wednesday in favor of a proposal to strengthen the company’s no-deforestation policy. The proposal, which was presented by Green Century Capital Management° and Storebrand Asset Management, earned the highest vote ever recorded for a deforestation shareholder proposal.
Bunge is one of the “Big 4” global agricultural commodity traders and sources soy from Brazil, where the crop is associated with high rates of deforestation. Bunge’s board of directors recommended that shareholders vote in favor of the resolution, a rare show of support from a corporate board. The company plans to produce a report that aligns with the requests outlined in the proposal. However, Green Century and other investors are urging the company to also adopt policies that effectively address its material deforestation-related risks.
“We are heartened by the board’s support, but we will be watching to ensure that the company takes comprehensive measures to eliminate deforestation and native vegetation conversion in the company’s soy supply chain,” said Leslie Samuelrich, president of Green Century. “The vote should be a signal to other companies in the Brazilian soy supply chain that investors are on high alert about these risks.”
The record-setting showing of investor support at Bunge’s annual meeting closes out a successful season of shareholder engagement on the issue of preventing deforestation. In the last month, Green Century has announced significant commitments from the Archer-Daniels-Midland Company and JPMorgan Chase on deforestation. The Bunge result also comes on the heels of voters at Procter & Gamble’s October annual meeting delivering the second-highest deforestation-related shareholder victory in history. That result was secured by a Green Century proposal as well.
“Over the past several years, investors and companies have come to understand that deforestation risk is climate risk and it needs to be addressed,” Samuelrich said. “The victories of the last few months make this the spring of investor-spurred corporate action on deforestation,” Samuelrich said.
Deforestation is a leading driver of climate change, accounting for approximately 12% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Despite having a no-deforestation policy in place, Bunge’s soy supply chain continues to be associated with deforestation in Brazil, particularly in the Cerrado region. The Brazilian Cerrado is a savanna ecosystem known as an “upside down forest” due to its extensive root system that stores vast amounts of carbon. Preserving existing carbon sinks is critical to combating climate change.
About Green Century Capital Management
°Green Century Capital Management, Inc. (Green Century) is the investment advisor to the Green Century Funds (The 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 March 31, 2021, Bunge Limited comprised 0.00%, 0.06%, and 0.00% of the 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.
The percentage in favor was calculated by (i) dividing the number of votes in support of the proposal by (ii) the sum of the number of votes voted in support of and against the proposal. Abstentions and broker non-votes were not included in the calculation.
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