Press Release Contact: Kyle W. Kempf, Green Century Capital Management, firstname.lastname@example.org, (617) 482-0800
Boston, September 10, 2019—General Mills, owner of brands such as Cheerios, Cascadian Farm, and Nature Valley, has shared its strategy and intention to reduce pesticides in its supply chain, following a multi-year engagement with Green Century and As You Sow.
After a series of successful dialogues, General Mills agreed to advance regenerative agriculture practices with farmers on a million acres of farmland by 2030, set goals to expand the acreage and crop variety of its regenerative agriculture program, and publicly report data on the initiative by the end of its first year.
General Mills also committed to review ways to measure and disclose its progress toward pesticide reduction, while providing continual disclosure on progress with its regenerative agriculture and integrated pest management programs.
“General Mills acknowledges the urgent need to protect the bees and other wild pollinators that are essential to global food production,” said Green Century President Leslie Samuelrich. “By indicating a willingness to take real steps to reduce the use the toxic pesticides in its supply chain, General Mills has emerged as a leader among its peers and we look forward to working with them to protect pollinators.”
Green Century contends that enhanced transparency on strategies for reduced pesticide use and the associated impacts on pollinators would serve the long-term interests of General Mills and its investors while safeguarding biodiversity and public health.
There is a growing scientific consensus that certain pesticides are contributing to a massive pollinator die-off, which jeopardizes food security and ecosystem diversity.
Honeybees, responsible for the pollination of $15 billion worth of annual crops in the U.S., had their colonies plummet by 40% last year alone. This alarming depletion is not unique to bees, with a recent report revealing that 40% of the world’s insect species are in decline.
Additionally, the World Health Organization has stated that exposure to certain pesticides can have severe human health impacts, including cancer and adverse effects on the reproduction and immune or nervous systems.
This was the second year in a row that Green Century and As You Sow filed a shareholder proposal regarding pesticide reduction with General Mills. In 2018, the joint resolution received the support of nearly a third of shareholders.
Trillium Asset Management and Mercy Investment Services co-filed the 2019 resolution.
Learn more about Green Century’s shareholder advocacy program here.
About Green Century Capital Management
Green Century is the first family of fossil fuel free, responsible, and diversified mutual funds in the United States. Green Century invests in sustainable companies, hosts an award-winning and in-house shareholder advocacy program, and is the only mutual fund company in the United States wholly owned by environmental and public health nonprofit organizations.
*As of June 30, 2019, General Mills Inc. comprised 0.25%, 0.65%, and 0.00% of the Green Century Equity Fund, Green Century Balanced Fund, and the Green Century International Index Fund, respectively. 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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The percentage in favor was calculated by (i) dividing the number of votes in support of the proposal by (ii) the sum of the number of votes voted in support of and against the proposal. Abstentions and broker non-votes were not included in the calculation.
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