Green Century Joins Fray to Defend Shareholder Rights Under Siege By Corporate Interests
Green Century’s award-winning, robust, and in-house shareholder advocacy program is integral to our efforts to improve corporate environmental practices.
While many of the corporations we engage are willing to collaborate or make positive environmental strides, not all corporate interests are receptive to investor-led efforts to improve sustainability.
For several years, a number of corporate front-groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Capital Market Competitiveness and the “Main Street Investors Coalition” (which actually is just a front group for the National Association of Manufacturers) have been attempting to make it appreciably more difficult for shareholders to engage with the publicly traded companies in which they’re invested.
One of the ways groups are trying to achieve this ignoble goal is to push the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to dramatically raise the ownership threshold necessary to file a shareholder resolution.
Currently, to file a shareholder resolution an investor is required to have held a minimum of $2,000 worth of stock in a company for at least one year.
The corporate interests trying to restrict the ability of investors to propose changes in corporate policies are pushing the SEC to raise the required minimum investment to file shareholder resolutions to 1% of a company’s stock.
For context, only seven institutional investors own more than 1% of stock issued by Amazon.com, Inc.*
To stop this attack, Green Century recently sent a letter, outlining outlined the importance of preserving the rights of shareholders to meaningfully engage with companies as a means to mitigate risk, to SEC Chairman Jay Clayton. Green Century was joined by dozens of other responsible and institutional investment firms in support of the current rules and thresholds.
This attack on investor rights is a sign that our efforts to improve corporate environmental practices are working.
From Green Century’s work to promote responsible antibiotics use with Darden Restaurants, Inc.* to eliminating toxic pesticides with General Mills,* the shareholder proposal process is key to bringing attention to critical environmental and public health issues.
Rest assured, Green Century will continue to work tirelessly to preserve our – and other investor’s – right to have a say in how the companies we invest in operate.
*As of December 31, 2018, Darden Restaurants, Inc. and General Mills, Inc. comprised 0.00%, 0.12%, and 0.00% and 0.01%, 0.23%, 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund, the Green Century Equity Fund, and the Green Century International Index Fund, respectively. No other securities mentioned were held in any of the portfolios of the Green Century Funds as of the same date. References to specific securities, which will change due to ongoing management of the Funds, should not be construed as a recommendation of a security by the Funds, their administrator, or the distributor.
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