Colgate-Palmolive ramps up efforts to address plastic pollution in response to Green Century Funds shareholder proposal

Media Contacts:

Annie Sanders, Director of Shareholder Advocacy,, 773-272-6691; Pam Podger, Director of Communications,, 860-822-3887

Boston, April 17, 2023 – Colgate-Palmolive*, a leading global consumer products company, will enhance its efforts to reduce plastic packaging and scale up reuse models that cut down on single-use plastic. In exchange for this heightened focus on plastic reduction, Green Century Capital Management° withdrew its shareholder proposal slated for the company’s 2023 annual meeting calling for a reduction of total plastic packaging use. 

An estimated 11 million tons of plastic waste is released into the ocean annually, killing more than 1 million marine animals each year,” said Green Century Funds President Leslie Samuelrich. “Plastic pollution demands urgent attention from companies and governments around the world. We applaud Colgate-Palmolive for stepping up its efforts to tackle the plastic crisis.”

Colgate-Palmolive to accelerate 2030 target-setting for plastic reduction

Colgate-Palmolive’s planned actions include more thorough disclosure in future sustainability reports of reuse pilots the company has launched or planned, such as refillable jars for toothpaste tablets and Palmolive dish gel sold in refillable bottles. The company also will publish a “reuse and refill baseline assessment” in its upcoming 2023 sustainability report and accelerate 2030 target-setting for plastic reduction that will prioritize packaging redesign and expansion of reuse and refill models. 

Only 9 percent of all plastic made in the last 60 years has been recycled,” said Annie Sanders, Green Century Capital Management’s director of shareholder advocacy. “It’s clear that we can’t recycle our way out of the plastic problem. We look forward to seeing Colgate-Palmolive significantly reduce its total contribution to plastic waste as soon as possible.”

States will make producers responsible for the waste they create

The company’s focus on plastic reduction comes not a moment too soon: a December 2022 survey found that 84% of registered U.S. voters support increasing the use of reusable packaging and foodware, and 80% support requiring companies to reduce their single-use plastic packaging. Governments are also taking note: since 2021, Maine, Oregon, California and Colorado have adopted the nation’s first producer responsibility laws for consumer packaging, which will make producers financially responsible for the packaging waste they create.

“Nothing we use for five minutes should pollute our environment for centuries,” added Sanders. “Reuse and refill models, which studies show rank among the most effective ways to replace single-use plastics, are critical solutions that companies must urgently scale up to meet one of the most profound environmental challenges of our time.” 


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About The 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 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 December 31st, 2022, Colgate-Palmolive comprised 0.00%, 0.37%, and 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund, the Green Century Equity Fund, and the Green Century International Index Fund. 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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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. 3/23. UMB and Green Century are unaffiliated.