Chevron* Shareholders Push for End to Risky Political Gambles
Contact: Lucia von Reusner, Green Century Capital Management, 617-482-0800, firstname.lastname@example.org
May 27, 2015: Concerned that Chevron’s political contributions represent little more than expensive gambles that damage the company’s reputation and community relations without returning value to shareholders, shareholders are calling on Chevron to refrain from this use of shareholder funds at the company’s annual shareholder meeting today. Green Century Capital Management filed its shareholder proposal after Chevron made headlines for its failed $3 million spending campaign attempting to influence city council elections in Richmond, CA, where the company is under pressure for local pollution problems and faces a lawsuit over a major refinery fire that made national headlines in 2012.
“Chevron is attempting to drown out citizens’ voices by flooding elections with shareholder dollars, bringing negative attention and controversy to its already damaged brand,” stated Leslie Samuelrich, President of Green Century Capital Management, the environmentally responsible mutual fund company that filed the shareholder proposal with Chevron. “Shareholders don’t want to keep footing the bill for Chevron’s failed gambles in politics, and are calling on the company to put an end to political contributions.”
The shareholder proposal filed by Green Century highlights a trend of increased spending by Chevron to influence election outcomes that has attracted negative media and public controversy to the company. It notes that corporate spending in politics has become deeply unpopular with the majority of Americans across party lines, and that Chevron’s outsized spending campaigns risk damaging the company’s reputation and community relations as a result. Green Century cites Chevron’s most recent spending campaign in Richmond, CA, that ended up in a public relations disaster after Chevron failed to secure support for a single one of the four candidates it backed, despite outspending the opposition by a 20-to-1 margin. The company is facing ongoing protests and pushback from local Richmond politicians, residents, and environmental groups to keep its money out of politics.
“Chevron has consistently violated our community’s trust, demonstrating that it will put its corporate profits ahead of the health and safety of our neighborhoods and our environment. Today, for the future of our communities, we join with 100,000 supporters from around the country calling on Chevron to stop polluting our elections and our planet,” said Richmond City Council member Eduardo Martinez in a press release put out by the coalition of local groups opposing Chevron’s political involvement in Richmond.
This is the second time that Green Century has called on Chevron to curb its political contributions intended to influence election outcomes. In 2012, Chevron was highlighted as making the largest single corporate donation in history at that time, with a $2.5 million contribution to a Republican Political Action Committee (PAC), helping to make the 2012 elections the most expensive in history. In addition to the reputational risks, Green Century also highlights several academic studies that have suggested corporate political contributions represent a diversion of company resources that may not in fact generate value to shareholders.
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Green Century Capital Management is an investment advisory firm that manages the first family of responsible and diversified fossil fuel free mutual funds. Founded in 1991 by a network of non-profit organizations, the state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), Green Century leads an effective shareholder advocacy program to convince companies to establish and implement environmental policies that protect our land, water and air.
*No securities mentioned were 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