Boston, February 3, 2022 – In response to a shareholder proposal filed by Green Century° on behalf of the Felician Sisters of North America, The Chemours Company has said that it has no current or future interest in buying a proposed Twin Pines Minerals, LLC mine that threatens Georgia’s Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, or in buying the company itself. Chemours, a chemical company spun off from DuPont, also committed not to do business with Twin Pines or buy titanium from the Okefenokee-adjacent project at any time in the foreseeable future. Chemours announced a further commitment to “ensure the value of the Okefenokee is maintained” and made it clear that it has no plans to mine next to the refuge.
“We applaud Chemours’ commitment to protect the Okefenokee,” said Thomas Peterson, shareholder advocate with Green Century. “Chemours’ decision to disavow any interest in the Twin Pines project sends an important signal: The leading company in the industry is stating that titanium mining next to the refuge is a non-starter.”
Green Century filed the proposal in November, asking Chemours to address the serious risks that mining next to the Okefenokee would pose to the swamp’s unique biodiversity, as well as the 95 million metric tons of carbon dioxide stored within its peat.
“The Okefenokee is a critical habitat for many species as well as a major carbon sink. Maintaining the integrity of this ecosystem is of utmost importance,” said Sister Mary Jean Sliwinski, provincial sustainability coordinator for the Felician Sisters of North America. “The Felician Sisters of North America are heartened by Chemours’ decision to refrain from mining or purchasing any product that could be mined from this region. It is our hope that this commitment will encourage others in the industry to refrain from mining so close to this natural treasure.”
Green Century is withdrawing its shareholder proposal in exchange for the public announcement of Chemours’ commitments to protect the Okefenokee. The company’s action follows in the footsteps of DuPont, its corporate predecessor. DuPont abandoned a mining project next to the Okefenokee in the early 2000s, pledging instead to protect the area.
“These are the sorts of cases where big commitments about sustainability get tested and we learn whether corporate pledges on climate and biodiversity are to be trusted,” said Ivan Frishberg, chief sustainability officer for Amalgamated Bank, which supported the engagement with Chemours. “We are very glad that Chemours has gone beyond requesting trust and is offering assurance that the Okefenokee is off limits.”
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. Scientists have opined that the proposed Twin Pines 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.
Chemours joins a long list of stakeholders committed to maintaining the Okefenokee’s value. More than 100,000 public comments have been filed with the state and federal governments opposing the Twin Pines project, and over 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. This widespread public opposition has received coverage in the Washington Post and many Georgia outlets.
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 December 31, 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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