Contact: Kyle W. Kempf, Green Century Capital Management, firstname.lastname@example.org, (617) 482-0800
KOTA KINABALU, MALAYSIA, November 26, 2018 – Green Century Capital Management commends the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the world’s largest third-party certifier for sustainable palm oil, for ratifying and adopting enhanced certification standards at its 16th Annual General Assembly. Palm oil is found in an estimated 50 percent of all packaged goods and its production is a leading driver of deforestation.
“Although the majority of palm oil growers, traders, and buyers have dramatically improved their practices and policies in the last five years, new standards were necessary to prevent deforestation and peatland clearance,” said Green Century Shareholder Advocate Jessye Waxman. “If the RSPO had failed to adopt stronger certification standards, it risked becoming unreliable for investors and irrelevant to the global effort to prevent deforestation. I am happy to have been a part of this significant development.”
Many companies that buy or trade palm oil rely on the RSPO certification of their suppliers in order to help evaluate or meet their own no deforestation commitments. In the last five years, however, an increasing number of palm oil traders and growers had adopted policies that were more stringent than what the previous RSPO standards required.
The RSPO’s Principles & Criteria (P&C) are revised once every five years, and this revision was especially important because the majority of corporate palm oil policies that end deforestation in their supply chains have a 2020 deadline.
Green Century has been the leading U.S. investment advisory firm working to press companies to address climate risk in their supply chains by stopping the unnecessary burning and razing of tropical forests to create palm oil plantations.
Green Century submitted extensive comments to the 2018 P&C review and organized global investors, representing $6.7 trillion in assets under management, to support a letter encouraging the RSPO to adopt more stringent sustainability standards, including policies like banning development of high carbon stock forests and requiring the disclosure of land ownership, which makes it easier to track companies that are causing deforestation.
The RSPO hosted a P&C revision workshop in July 2018, which Green Century, NGOs, industry experts, and several major companies attended. The workshop consisted of several hours of collaborative discussion in which Green Century represented investor concerns and demands.
In March 2018, Green Century and other investors representing more than $3.2 trillion organized an investor letter that called for “a more transparent and responsive complainants mechanism,” after a series of media stories and NGO reports exposed serious labor rights violations that had not been addressed through the existing system.
Green Century first called on the RSPO to strengthen its standards for certifying the sustainable production of palm oil in 2015 and met with RSPO staff leadership and members multiple times to express the concerns of investors.
The updated P&C include several new elements, including the adoption of a “no deforestation through the implementation of the High Carbon Stock Approach,” which uses satellite data and ground survey measurements to stratify the vegetation in an area of land into six different classes.
The new standards are effective immediately, but existing RSPO grower members were granted a one-year transition period.
About Green Century Capital Management
Green Century offers three environmentally and socially responsible mutual funds. Through fossil fuel free investing and our three-pronged approach of sustainable investing, active shareholder advocacy, and support of environmental and public health non-profits we work to curb climate change, improve environmental policies, and limit environmental impacts of company supply chains.
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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. A sustainable investment strategy which incorporates environmental, social and governance criteria may result in lower or higher returns than an investment strategy that does not include such criteria.
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