Investors Increasingly Call for Action on Deforestation

Press Release Contact: Kyle W. Kempf, Green Century Capital Management, kkempf@greencentury.com, (617) 482-0800

Boston, June 9, 2020 – Green Century’s recent shareholder proposal with Bloomin’ Brands Inc. (Bloomin’), calling on the company to mitigate its greenhouse gas emissions and adopt a no-deforestation policy, received a notable 26.5% of the votes cast at its annual meeting, sending a powerful message to Bloomin’ management that there is “substantial security holder interest” in the issue.
“If a tree falls in a forest, investors hear it. Bloomin’ shareholders want to see the company mitigate climate-related risks in its operations and supply chains,” said Jessye Waxman, shareholder advocate at Green Century Capital Management. “We hope Bloomin’ and other corporations listen to their investors and adopt and implement no-deforestation policies.”

This is not the first significant vote for a deforestation-related shareholder proposal. In the past 3 years, investors filed 13 deforestation-related shareholder proposals with companies. (Green Century was responsible for six of the 13.) Seven of those resolutions went to a vote. The proposals received, on average, more than 20% of the votes cast.

Clearly, investors recognize that deforestation poses a material risk to companies and their portfolios. Deforestation can cause soil erosion and changes in precipitation patterns, which can disrupt supply chains and affect commodity prices. Supply chain deforestation also is tied to labor abuses, including slavery and child labor, that can have serious reputational repercussions for companies.

More than 80% of tropical deforestation, the majority of which is illegal, is attributable to commercial agriculture. Agriculture and other land use changes are responsible for 23% of global man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

If investors recognize these risks, it is imperative that companies do, too. To avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change and fulfill the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement, corporations must listen to investor concerns and proactively take steps to mitigate their exposure to climate-related risks, including supply chain deforestation.

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Green Century Capital Management is the investment advisor to the Green Century 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.

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