Boston, November 10, 2021 – Green Century Capital Management° filed a shareholder proposal with The Chemours Company asking it to address the serious risks associated with potential titanium mining next to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. Chemours, which was spun off from DuPont in 2015, manufactures and sells “performance chemicals” including titanium dioxide and refrigerants.
“As we face escalating climate and biodiversity crises, disrupting the Okefenokee’s unique ecosystem and the millions of tons of carbon stored there for a risky and unnecessary mining project is unthinkable,” said Green Century President Leslie Samuelrich. “Chemours should follow in the footsteps of DuPont, its corporate predecessor, which abandoned a similar project in the 1990s, and commit to properly and permanently protecting the land surrounding the Okefenokee.”
At 438,000 acres, the Okefenokee Swamp is one of the world’s largest intact freshwater wetlands. More than 402,000 acres are protected in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, the largest refuge in the eastern United States and home to hundreds of plant and animal species. Moreover, the Okefenokee is the largest freshwater peat deposit in the Northern Hemisphere’s subtropical zone, storing the equivalent of 95 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
Twin Pines Minerals, LLC has applied for permits to mine for titanium next to the Okefenokee, and there is evidence that Chemours is interested in buying this project once a permit is issued. Chemours is the only company currently operating titanium mines in the United States. Scientists with the federal government have raised concerns that this mining project would lower the swamp’s water level, causing serious damage to the ecology and wildlife habitat. This excavation would also dry out the swamp’s peat beds to greater depths, promoting the spread of catastrophic fire, which would release enormous amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
These concerns have fueled significant public attention and controversy, including front page coverage in the Washington Post and more than 100,000 public comments filed with the state and federal governments opposing the project. Most recently, more than 100 religious leaders from around Georgia have declared their opposition, as have a bipartisan group of state and federal officials including Bruce Babbitt, Interior Secretary under President Bill Clinton, and Hank Paulson, Treasury Secretary under President George W. Bush.
Chemours has stated that it has no “immediate plans” to mine near the Okefenokee, but has stopped short of a longer-term commitment. Chemours has also failed to commit to not buying titanium mined in the vicinity of the swamp.
“Mining near the Okefenokee would expose Chemours to material climate, regulatory, legal and reputational risks,” said Thomas Peterson, shareholder advocate with Green Century. “Furthermore, Chemours has little to gain by decimating this unique ecosystem. After all, the company says its existing mines will provide sufficient titanium well into the next decade, and it has recently broken ground on a new mine in Florida.”
Green Century hopes that Chemours will quickly issue a public commitment to never mine near the Okefenokee or purchase titanium mined in these ecologically critical areas. If not, this issue will be put to other shareholders on the company’s proxy ballot.
About Green Century Capital Management
°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 September 30, 2021, The Chemours Company comprised 0.00%, 0.00% and 0.00% of the 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.
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