Now, our work is more important than ever before.
While the current administration continues to signal that it will roll back environmental regulations and promote policies to benefit the fossil fuel industry, more people are looking for ways to take an active role to protect environmental safeguards and promote the transition toward a more low-carbon, sustainable economy.
Environmentally responsible investing in conjunction with robust and active shareholder advocacy can deliver this tangible impact that paves a path forward. This advocacy has and continues to push sustainability issues into corporate boardrooms and has resulted in important changes in supply chains, such as when Unilever* adopted a policy to reduce carbon emissions. Shareholder proposals, which often pave the way for policy changes, regarding environmental and social issues continue to make up a large percentage of shareholder proposals. For example, climate risk proposals received an average support of 29% last year, up from up from just 7% in 2011. This fact even led Ernst & Young* to recommend that, “boards should make sure they understand company-specific sustainability risks and integrate those risks into oversight of strategy.”
Similar to how some consumers seek out brands and products that use healthier ingredients or use less packaging, individuals and institutions can put their assets to work for the advancement of the environmental values they care about. Green Century gives people and institutions the opportunity to invest in solutions-oriented companies that are helping the global transition toward a lower-carbon economy, such as Vestas Wind Systems,* which operates on the international stage where renewable energy production and generation continues to grow.
Beyond direct investments, a robust shareholder advocacy program is where measurable impact can be most clear and offers a promising way forward during this time of uncertainty. Through our shareholder advocacy work, we help and when needed, pressure companies to make improvements to their environmental policies, business practices, or supply chains to limit negative environmental impacts. This work can have a ripple effect through an entire industry, as in our Forest Protection Campaign that will help keep at least 1.5 gigatons of carbon dioxide from our air between 2014 and 2020, which is equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide emissions from 168,785,866,997 gallons of gasoline consumed.
The most promising note is that since the fall, not one of the companies with whom we work has slowed down in its responsiveness or progress. In fact, in the last two months, we have worked with both Starbucks* and Jack in the Box,* which owns Qdoba,* on their new policies to phase out the misuse of antibiotics in poultry supply chains. And why haven’t they changed with the new administration’s outlook? The groundswell toward a more sustainable and low-carbon economy has already taken hold, in part, due to the efforts of investors. The evidence which shows that companies that measure and manage ESG issues well tend to be high-quality companies that are good long-term investments continues to grow, leading companies to embrace renewables and other ESG concerns to align with long-term objectives that extend beyond any one administration.
While we have our work to protect the environment and public health cut out for us, it’s important to remember that there is plenty of opportunity for both the investment and corporate communities to stand up, take action, and help the transition toward a more sustainable economy and planet.
At Green Century, we will remain committed to delivering impact for the benefit of our investors and their families. We thank you for your support on this journey and hope that you will continue to join us on our mission to help create a more sustainable and just world.
*As of December 31, 2016, Unilever comprise 1.29%, 0.00%, and 3.89%, Vestas Wind Systems comprised 0.00%, 0.00%, and 0.55%, Starbucks Corporation comprised 1.66%, 1.00%, and 0.00%, and Jack in the Box comprised 0.00%, 0.05%, and 0.00%, of the Green Century Balanced Fund, Green Century Equity Fund, and Green Century International Index Fund, respectively. Other securities mentioned were not held in any of the portfolios of the Green Century Funds as of December 31, 2016. 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.
Stocks will fluctuate in response to factors that may affect a single company, industry, sector, country, region, or 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, and other unique risks compared to investing in securities of U.S. issuers. Bonds are subject to risks including interest rate, credit, and inflation. The Funds’ environmental criteria limit the investments available to the Funds compared to mutual funds that do not use environmental criteria.
You should carefully consider the Funds’ investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses before investing. To obtain a Prospectus that contains this and other information about the Funds please visit greencentury.com, email email@example.com, or call 1-800-934-7336. Please read the Prospectus carefully before investing.
This information has been prepared from sources believed reliable. The views expressed are as the date of publication and are those of the Advisor to the Funds.
The Green Century Funds are distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC. 3/17