APRIL 15, 2014 // BOSTON, MA – Responding to growing consumer and investor concern about the risks associated with palm oil production, General Mills* became the latest company to pledge that it will not purchase palm oil that is linked to rampant destruction of the rainforest and carbon emissions. In its revised palm oil sourcing commitment, General Mills announced that it will only source from suppliers that can trace their palm oil back to operations verified as not contributing to deforestation or peatland development, activities which destroy the habitats for endangered species and drive climate change.
Trillium Asset Management (Trillium) and Green Century Capital Management (Green Century) have engaged General Mills for a number of years on its palm oil commitments, and applaud the company for working towards sustainable palm oil.
“With this commitment, General Mills has sent a strong signal to its suppliers that deforestation is not compatible with its brand or values, reassuring its customers and shareholders,” said Lucia von Reusner, shareholder advocate at Green Century Capital Management. “Given the urgent rate at which rainforests are disappearing, General Mills needs to work quickly to put its commitment into practice and help end deforestation for palm oil.”
“General Mill’s commitment puts the spotlight squarely on Cargill* and other palm oil suppliers. As the market moves, purchase orders will speak loudly. Now is the time for all suppliers to meet the demands of their customers for no deforestation palm oil,” said Trillium Senior Vice President, Jonas Kron.
Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable in the world, and also the leading driver of tropical deforestation. Recently, major companies including Kellogg’s*, Wilmar*, Mars*, and L’Oreal* have made similar commitments for ensuring all palm oil purchases can be traced back to suppliers verified as not contributing to deforestation, peatland development, or human rights violations. Wilmar’s commitment alone is estimated to save 1.5 gigatons of CO2 by 2020,¹ which is more than the annual emissions from all of Central and South America.²
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Green Century Capital Management is an environmentally responsible investment advisory firm that manages two mutual funds – the fossil fuel free Balanced Fund and the Equity Fund, which invests in the companies that comprise the longest running socially responsible index. Founded by a partnership of non-profit environmental advocacy organizations in 1991, Green Century Capital Management provides people who care about a clean, healthy planet the opportunity to keep their money out of environmentally irresponsible companies and use the leverage of their investment dollars to encourage environmentally responsible corporate behavior. Visit Green Century or greencentury.com
Trillium Asset Management, LLC is the oldest independent investment advisor devoted exclusively to sustainable and responsible investing. With over $1.5 billion in assets under management, Trillium has been managing equity and fixed income investments for high net worth individuals, foundations, endowments, religious institutions, and other nonprofits, since 1982. A leader in shareholder advocacy and public policy work, Trillium’s goal is to deliver both impact and performance to its investors.
*As of March 31, 2014, General Mills, Inc., and Kellogg Company, comprised 0.53% and 0.26%; and 0.01% and 0.00% of the Green Century Equity Fund and the Green Century Balanced Fund, respectively. Other securities mentioned were not held in the portfolios as of March 31, 2014. The holdings of the Green Century Funds may change due to ongoing management of the Funds. References to specific investments should not be construed as a recommendation of a security by the Funds, their advisor, administrator, or distributor.
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