Boston, September 13, 2021 – Green Century Capital Management° filed a shareholder proposal with Deere & Co. asking it to account for its anti-competitive repair policies. Deere & Co. is the creator of the John Deere tractor and manufactures a wide array of agriculture equipment. The company accounts for more than half the farm machinery sales in the U.S.
Green Century filed the proposal because of increased concerns about the regulatory, legal and reputational risks posed to Deere by its anti-repair stance. The Right-to-Repair movement, which promotes the rights of customers and independent repair shops to fix everything from phones to 500 horsepower combines, has been gaining traction nationally. In 2021, a total of 24 states introduced Right-to-Repair legislation and similar legislation, the Fair Repair Act, was introduced in Congress.
“Deere’s approach flies in the face of the ingenuity and self-reliance that are at the heart of America’s great agricultural tradition,” said Green Century President Leslie Samuelrich. “Depriving farmers of the ability to fix their machinery runs counter to the ethos founder John Deere surely set for this iconic brand. Now, for the betterment of the company and all Americans, it must stop.”
Specific concerns focus on Deere’s policy to make certain key repair diagnostic software and firmware only available through dealerships. This practice has caused some customers to lose yield, due to delays in planting, fertilizing and harvesting, because they could not access necessary repair materials and had to wait for a dealer.
“It’s incredible that a multi-billion dollar corporation cannot see its way to working with, rather than against, American farmers,” said Green Century shareholder advocate Andrea Ranger. “Deere says that providing farmers access to the software will lead to environmental, safety, and engine issues, but it’s just like the car manufacturers telling us we can’t fix our own cars.”
Company representatives are quick to point out that less than 2% of all repairs require a software update. However, Deere does not disclose what percentage of the repair sales the 2% represents.
Green Century hopes that filing this resolution will help Deere quickly reverse its anti-repair stance, but, if not, this issue will be put in front of other shareholders on the 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 the first family of fossil fuel free, responsible, and diversified 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 June 30, 2021, Deere & Company comprised 0.77%, 0.55% and 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund, the Green Century Equity 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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