Annie Sanders, Director of Shareholder Advocacy, email@example.com, 773-272-6691
Pam Podger, Communications Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-299-9495
Boston, May 5th, 2023 – 185 investors with $10 trillion in assets under management, including Green Century°, have signed a statement demanding that companies adopt a more radical approach to reducing their reliance on plastics. Specifically, investors urge intensive users of plastic packaging – such as consumer goods companies and grocery retailers from Kellogg* to Costco* – to drastically reduce single-use plastic packaging, implement packaging reuse systems, phase out hazardous chemicals in plastics and advocate for policies supporting these actions.
“The plastics life cycle not only poses a grave and growing threat to our environment, but the financial burden on society from plastic pollution exceeds $100 billion per year,” said Leslie Samuelrich, President of Green Century Funds. “No convenience is worth those costs.”
Companies Need to Step Up to Solve the Plastics Problem
The damage caused to the environment from plastics is clear. Between 75 and 199 million tonnes of plastics have leaked into the ocean, and the total greenhouse gas emissions from single-use plastics in 2021 were equivalent to the annual emissions of the United Kingdom. Yet, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, most companies will ‘almost certainly’ miss their existing plastics reduction targets, increasing their use of single-use plastic packaging overall and failing to demonstrate credible and ambitious plans for reuse.
“Investors are sending a clear signal that companies must urgently address their contribution to the plastic problem,” said Annie Sanders, Director of Shareholder Advocacy at Green Century Capital Management. “With increased regulation, litigation, and changing consumer preferences around plastics, it’s in companies’ best interests to meaningfully address the very real financial risks posed by this crisis.”
The investor letter asks companies to significantly reduce material consumption, eliminate single-use packaging and scale up reusable packaging systems, among other actions. The letter also calls for companies to publicly support – rather than lobby against – ambitious policy on plastic reduction, including the Global Plastics Treaty and the EU’s Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR). A recent analysis showed that lobbying efforts by industry associations already managed to considerably weaken some of the measures.
A sustainable investment strategy which incorporates environmental, social and governance criteria may result in lower or higher returns than an investment strategy that does not include such criteria.
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 March 31st, 2023, Kellogg comprised 0.00%, 0.09%, and 0.00% and Costco comprised 1.36%, 0.00%, and 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund, the Green Century Equity Fund, and the Green Century International Index Fund. 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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Stocks will fluctuate in response to factors that may affect a single company, industry, sector, country, region or the market as a whole and may perform worse than the market. Foreign securities are subject to additional risks such as currency fluctuations, regional economic and political conditions, differences in accounting methods, and other unique risks compared to investing in securities of U.S. issuers. Bonds are subject to a variety of risks including interest rate, credit, and inflation risk.
This information has been prepared from sources believed reliable. The views expressed are as the date of this writing and are those of the Advisor to the Funds.
The Green Century Funds are distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC. 235 W Galena Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212. 5/23. UMB and Green Century are unaffiliated.