Lowe’s* Commits to Comprehensive Reporting of its Forest Footprint; Will Also Explore Elimination of Sourcing from Primary Forests
Media Contact: Thomas Peterson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 781-349-2615; Josh Chetwynd, email@example.com, 303-573-5558
Boston, March 25, 2022 – Green Century° has withdrawn a shareholder proposal filed with Lowe’s* after the home improvement retailer agreed to both disclose the impact of its sourcing on primary forests, which are forests that have never been logged and have experienced minimal human disturbance, and develop a strategy to mitigate climate, biodiversity and human rights risks associated with its wood sourcing. The company also pledged to report on how it is operationalizing its Wood Sourcing Policy, which includes pledges to avoid high conservation value forests and wood from the habitat of threatened species. Lowe’s is one of the world’s largest home improvement retailers and a major purchaser of wood products.
“In evaluating an end to sourcing from primary forests, Lowe’s has taken an important step toward addressing deforestation risk,” said Thomas Peterson, shareholder advocate with Green Century. “If we are to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and mitigate biodiversity collapse, companies that buy and sell wood products must take action to stop sourcing from primary forests, which are among the most carbon-dense and ecologically significant places on Earth.”
As requested in Green Century’s shareholder proposal, Lowe’s has agreed to produce a report to assess how it might eliminate deforestation and primary forest degradation. The company has also committed to exploring a requirement that suppliers obtain Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) from indigenous communities.
In addition, Lowe’s recently announced plans to set science-based net zero emissions targets this year. These targets will cover emissions from Lowe’s supply chain, including forestry-related emissions.
Deforestation and primary forest degradation are responsible for approximately 13% of global greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to biodiversity loss. Roughly 90% of Lowe’s wood comes from North America, including from Canada’s boreal forest. Boreal forests harbor significant biodiversity and are critical carbon storehouses, holding approximately a third of all terrestrial carbon. Canada’s boreal, which constitutes 25% of the world’s remaining intact forest and stores twice as much carbon per hectare as tropical forests, experiences the third-highest rate of intact forest loss globally, releasing tens of millions of metric tons of carbon annually. Demand for wood products is a primary driver of industrial clearcutting in Canada.
Green Century’s engagement with Lowe’s follows our landmark shareholder proposal with Procter & Gamble*, which earned a majority shareholder vote in fall 2020 and called on the company to take action on deforestation and forest degradation, with a focus on wood pulp sourcing from Canada’s boreal forest. Since that majority vote, Procter & Gamble has improved its deforestation policies, but has stopped short of ending sourcing from primary forests.
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, Lowe’s Companies, Inc. comprised 0.00%, 0.82%, and 0.00%; and The Procter & Gamble Company comprised 0.65%, 1.82%, 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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