Morgan Stanley* to adopt new deforestation policies in response to Green Century Funds’ shareholder proposal
Annie Sanders, Director of Shareholder Advocacy, firstname.lastname@example.org, 773-272-6691; Mark Morgenstein, Media Relations Director, email@example.com, 678-427-1671
Boston, March 7, 2023 – Morgan Stanley, one of the largest banks in the United States, has committed to strengthening its deforestation policies for clients around the world. In response, Green Century Funds° withdrew its related shareholder proposal for Morgan Stanley’s 2023 annual meeting.
“We cannot achieve global climate goals without ending deforestation in this decade. To do that, banks must help mitigate the dangers to forests and biodiversity,” said Green Century Funds President Leslie Samuelrich. “We are encouraged by Morgan Stanley’s steps to address these risks.”
Morgan Stanley will enhance standards for soy, beef, palm oil, and wood products
In exchange for the withdrawal of Green Century Funds’ shareholder proposal, Morgan Stanley agreed to enhance its existing written standards for palm oil and forestry clients to reflect best practices, as well as create new written policy standards for soy and beef clients operating in regions with high deforestation risk. Beef, soy, palm oil and wood products are responsible for the majority of global deforestation.
“To achieve their climate reduction goals, banks will need to focus on companies that drive deforestation,” said Annie Sanders, Green Century Funds’ director of shareholder advocacy. “With these new commitments, Morgan Stanley is taking important steps toward meeting its net-zero ambitions.”
New commitment builds on agreements with JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup
This commitment from Morgan Stanley builds on a landmark agreement that Green Century secured with JPMorgan Chase* in 2021, when JPMorgan became the first U.S.-based bank to require palm oil clients to adopt “No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation” (NDPE) policies, as well as an agreement last year with Citigroup* to strengthen its deforestation policies. Morgan Stanley will align with leading NDPE policies while also surpassing JPMorgan with improved timber sector standards. Notably, Morgan Stanley will require best-practice Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification or a time-bound plan to achieve it for clients in high conservation value forests, as well as an enhanced review of beef clients’ no-deforestation policies and practices in high-risk regions.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, agriculture, forestry and other land use change is responsible for 23 percent of total net anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, nearly half of which is attributable to deforestation.
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About The Green Century Funds
°Green Century Capital Management, Inc. (Green Century) is the investment advisor to the Green Century Funds (The Funds). The Green Century Funds are one of the first families of fossil fuel free 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 31st, 2022, Morgan Stanley comprised 0.00%, 0.65%, and 0.00% and Citigroup, Inc. comprised 1.32%, 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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