Costco Steps Up Efforts to Reduce Plastic in Response to Green Century Proposal

Contact Information:  
Douglass Guernsey, Shareholder Advocate,, 617-747-4447 
Pam Podger, Communications Director,, 802-299-9495


(BOSTON, 10/10/23) – Green Century° reached a deal with Costco Wholesale* which committed to increased plastic footprint disclosures and a new 5-year plastic action plan.  

We commend Costco for providing the information that investors need and for taking steps to reduce their use of plastic, especially new plastics,” said Leslie Samuelrich, President of Green Century Funds. “We look forward to working with the company to reduce its contribution to the plastic crisis by setting reduction targets that will meaningfully protect our oceans and wildlife.” 

In response to the growing global crisis of single-use plastic waste, Green Century Capital Management approached Costco to explore how the retailing giant could expand the scope and scale of its plastic reduction efforts. The outcome of these discussions led to a new commitment by Costco to transparency and action. 

The disclosures, which are expected to be unveiled in July of 2024, include the total plastic footprint of Costco’s in-house brand, Kirkland Signature. The company will also disclose for the first time the total percentage of recycled content in its plastic packaging, an important indicator of environmental plastics commitments.  

In December of 2024, Costco will release its 5-year plastic action plan that will outline the steps the company will take to reduce total plastic in its Kirkland Signature packaging, as well as report on progress made each year of the plan. 

Costco Takes Action on Plastics, Yet More Work Is Needed 

Despite Costco’s recent commitments, more work is needed to address the company’s exposure to single use plastics. In May of 2023, 185 asset managers with $10 trillion under management, including Green Century, signed a statement calling for companies to immediately reduce single-use plastic packaging, upscale reusables systems, phase out hazardous chemicals, and advocate for responsible plastics legislation.  

“Companies need to take single-use plastic risk seriously,” said Douglass Guernsey, shareholder advocate at Green Century. “Single-use plastics cost society an estimated $350 billion per year in emissions, ocean pollution and collection. Increasing regulation and litigation risk means these costs will be returned to companies that produce such excessive, unrecyclable plastic. Frankly, it’s past time to act.”  


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 6.30.2023, Costco Wholesale comprised 1.45%, 0.00%, 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, email, 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. September/2023