Skip to content

Chemours, Major Retailers Reject Proposal to Permanently Protect Okefenokee

Media Contacts:

Annie Sanders, Director of Shareholder Advocacy, asanders@greencentury.com, 773-272-6691

Pam Podger, Communications Director, ppodger@greencentury.com, 802-299-9495

 

Boston, March 27, 2024 – The Securities and Exchange Commission has ruled that shareholder proposals seeking protections for the Okefenokee swamp from a titanium mine can be excluded from voting at the 2024 annual meetings of The Chemours Company, Sherwin-Williams and Home Depot. The proposals were filed by Green Century°, an environmentally responsible mutual fund, and the Felician Sisters of North America.

“While we are disappointed that these companies chose to challenge our proposals rather than evaluate scientifically supported protections for the Okefenokee, we were pleased to learn they have no near-term plans or intent to support mining at this natural treasure,” said Green Century Funds President Leslie Samuelrich. “As a massive carbon sink and one of the world’s largest intact freshwater wetlands, the Okefenokee is the last place we should be mining for anything.”

Chemours, which was spun off from DuPont in 2015, manufactures and sells “performance chemicals,” including titanium dioxide. In 2022, Chemours publicly pledged to avoid mining at, or buying minerals from, the swamp in the near term. Following that commitment, the company signed a long-term contract to secure titanium dioxide from a Tennessee mine which, combined with its other operations in Georgia and Florida, appears to provide a long-term supply.

Sherwin-Williams is a global leader in paints and coatings, and Home Depot is a major carrier of titanium dioxide-based paint. Headquartered in Atlanta, Home Depot’s resistance to protecting a natural resource special to customers, employees, and other stakeholders raises particular concern.

“We will remain steadfast in our commitment to work to protect the Okefenokee,” shared Sister Jean Sliwinski, Sustainability Coordinator, Felician Sisters of North America. “We urge Chemours, Home Depot and Sherwin Williams to strengthen their commitments and help protect this international treasure by publicly pledging to permanently avoid Okefenokee titanium.”

Draft Permits Issued Last Month, Moving Mine Forward

Draft permits to allow Twin Pines Minerals, LLC to mine titanium on Trail Ridge, the line of inland sand dunes that help hold water in the Okefenokee, were issued last month by Georgia regulators, putting it on the cusp of approval after a five-year battle. The company has also indicated it has plans to expand to mine more land on the swamp’s edge in the future.

Scientific consensus indicates that Twin Pines’ project would significantly damage the Okefenokee by drawing down its water level while raising drought and fire risks. Such events could destroy swamp wildlife habitat, damage thousands of acres of adjacent private timberland, and release significant carbon emissions.

“Mining near an ecological gem to make white paint is rife with risks,” said Annie Sanders, shareholder advocate with Green Century. “The absurdity of the prospect would be laughable if it weren’t so shocking that companies actually want to leave this door open.”

Over 100,000 comments were submitted to Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division opposing TPM’s draft Mining Land Use Plan in early 2023, and in early March 2024, 100 people testified against mining at a public hearing held by that agency. Because of its conservation and cultural importance, Okefenokee is being nominated for inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site List. In addition, the Okefenokee also stores over 400M tons of CO2 equivalent, making it one of the largest natural carbon sinks in North America.

###

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 12.31.2023, Sherwin-Williams comprised 0.00%, 0.36%, and 0.00% and The Home Depot comprised 1.03%, 1.63%, 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 www.greencentury.com, email info@greencentury.com, 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, 235 W Galena Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212. UMB Distribution Services, LLC is not an affiliate of Green Century or any of its affiliates. March/2024.