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Deere & Co Faces Shareholder Scrutiny on Right to Repair Stand

Media Contacts:
Pam Podger, Communications Director, ppodger@greencentury.com, 802-299-9495 Douglass Guernsey, Shareholder Advocate, dguernsey@greencentury.com, (617) 482-0800

(Boston, October 11) The Green Century° Equity Fund has filed a shareholder resolution with Deere & Company* asking the company to issue a public report assessing the potential damage to the brand’s reputation from opposing Right to Repair legislation.

Deere, the iconic tractor company, has received significant scrutiny for its opposition to “Right to Repair” laws, which allow farmers to access diagnostic software, parts and instructions to repair their own machinery. A class-action lawsuit filed against Deere by farmers alleges that the company violated antitrust laws by restricting repair to dealerships, which increased company profits while hurting farmers.

Shareholders Concerned That Deere Is Not Doing Enough to Support Right to Repair

Recent polls indicate that an overwhelming 84% of Americans support Right to Repair legislation. In April 2023, Colorado became the first state to enact Right to Repair laws specifically targeting farm equipment. To date, 30 additional states have introduced Right to Repair bills, highlighting the growing momentum behind the issue.

While Deere recently signed a “memorandum of understanding” (MOU) with The American Farm Bureau Federation which would allow farmers to buy access to repair information, the agreement has come under scrutiny. According to the MOU, the Farm Bureau would be restricted from advocating for enforceable legislation, and Deere would be allowed to pull out of the agreement if any legislation is passed.

Deere Opposed Right to Repair on Flimsy Grounds

There are also concerns that in its rush to oppose Right to Repair legislation, Deere may have made misleading statements in federal filings regarding the environmental consequences of repair.

Deere claimed that existing EPA regulations and the Clean Air Act were some of the reasons that it would not give independent repair shops access to its diagnostic tools. In August 2023, however, the EPA issued a statement that it had no policy on restricting owners’ repairs of emissions-related components of their products to properly function.

Green Century previously filed a shareholder proposal with Deere on the same issue in 2021. Shareholders were unable to vote on the measure as Deere petitioned the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to exclude the proposal from the ballot. At the time, Green Century° President Leslie Samuelrich said, “Deere seems to be more focused on stifling shareholder concerns than addressing them. Spending time and energy on an SEC challenge could be put to better use by making their products better serve their customers.”

 

 

 

 

 

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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, Deere & Company comprised 0.58%, 0.57%, 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. September/2023