How Green Century Does Shareholder Advocacy – Tropical Forest Protection in Indonesia and Malaysia

The author is a shareholder advocate with Green Century, leading our tropical forests protection campaign.

I just returned from Indonesia and Malaysia, where I met with palm oil growers, processors, and traders, and with banks that finance the development of palm oil, to press them to end deforestation. As a shareholder advocate, my job is to engage with companies and pressure them to improve their environmental practices.

Green Century’s shareholder advocacy is unique. Our version of shareholder advocacy goes well beyond simply voting the proxies of the corporations in our Funds.

As a Green Century shareholder advocate, I engage in direct dialogues with companies, file shareholder resolutions focused on corporate sustainability, and actively participate in global collaborations, like the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

And, occasionally, I travel to Indonesia and Malaysia to engage in shareholder advocacy on the ground.

To give our investors a better idea of the unparalleled depth of Green Century’s shareholder advocacy, I am going to chronicle my trip through a series of blog posts, but first, here is a brief primer on our shareholder advocacy around tropical forest protection.

Tropical forest protection

Dan Strechay, U.S. representative, RSPO; Jessye Waxman, shareholder advocate, Green Century; and Wathshlah Naidu, senior manager – grievance, RSPO at the RSPO conference in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.

Protecting tropical forests has been of a central focus of Green Century for several years and we are a leading investor on the issue both in the United States and globally. We focus on soy and beef supply chains, which are mostly concentrated in South America, and palm oil, which is a leading cause of deforestation in Southeast Asia.

Green Century focuses on protecting tropical forests to combat climate change, preserve necessary habitat for endangered species – like the orangutan pictured above – and mitigate potential financial risks for investors.

The environmental degradation posed by deforestation is probably pretty clear. Tropical forests are integral to carbon sequestration, the preservation of biodiversity, and the maintenance of healthy ecosystems. And forest destruction contributes nearly the same amount of global greenhouse-gas emissions as the entire transportation sector.

The potential financial risks associated with deforestation might be less obvious. For investors, these may include:

  • Reputational risks – consumers may not purchase goods or services from a company responsible for the slashing and burning of tropical forests
  • Operational risks – deforestation and climate change are affecting agricultural yields, disrupting natural water systems, and threatening biodiversity
  • Regulatory risks – changes in regulations or laws could materially impact companies reliant on unsustainable supply chains by hindering their ability to bring products to market or stranding their assets

As a shareholder advocate, I work to diminish the threat of these risks to investors – and protect the environment – by directly engaging with companies. Here’s a glimpse into how I do it:

Post 1: How Green Century Does Shareholder Advocacy – Financing Sustainable Palm Oil in Indonesia and Malaysia

 

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