Contact: Libby O’Connell, Green Century Capital Management, 617-482-0800, firstname.lastname@example.org
May 5, 2015—
Shareholders of PepsiCo (“Pepsi”), concerned about the sharp declines in the number of bees and other important pollinators, are urging the Company to assess the financial risks it faces due to the decline of critical pollinators across its supply chains. The investors will gather at Pepsi’s annual meeting on May 6th to vote on a shareholder proposal urging the Company report on its strategies to reduce the use of high-risk pesticides linked to this concerning decline.
The proposal, filed by Trillium Asset Management, the Sustainability Group of Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge and Green Century Capital Management, was prompted by growing concern about the sharp declines in the number of bees and other important pollinators, which evidence suggests may be linked to neonicotinoid pesticides— or neonics.
Pepsi procures a number of crops, including apples, and oranges, that are dependent on pollinators; therefore, the proponents contend it faces potentially significant risks if the cost of pollination services rise. Also, the Company is a large purchaser of corn, wheat, oats and other commodity crops typically pre-treated with neonics. This puts Pepsi’s supply chain practices at risk of potentially endangering the health of pollinators.
“Pepsi argues that the information investors seek is not needed. We disagree,” said Susan Baker of Trillium, co-lead filer of the proposal. “If the decline in pollinators continues, the price for such services will increase, raising costs throughout the supply chain. In addition, it may become increasingly difficult or expensive to procure certain crops and products.”
“As a major purchaser of crops grown from seeds pre-treated with neonics, Pepsi is part of the problem. But it also has an opportunity to make a positive impact,” said Larisa Ruoff of the Sustainability Group of Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge, co-lead filer of the proposal. “Seeds not treated with neonicotinoids are available. The growth of these alternatives in the marketplace will depend on influential companies like Pepsi supporting sustainable agriculture practices,” she continued.
The shareholder proposal further notes that “bee-pollinated commodities account for $20 billion in annual United States agricultural production and $217 billion worldwide,” according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and that the rapid decline in pollinators poses urgent risks to our global food system.
In response to increasing scientific evidence that has identified neonics as causing harm to honey bees and wild pollinators, a number of large companies such as Lowe’s,* Home Depot* and Whole Foods* have made commitments to label, and/or reduce the use and sale of this class of pesticide in their supply chains.
“Industry peers are taking action to pro-actively curb these high-risk neonics in their supply chains,” said Lucia von Reusner of Green Century Capital Management, co-filer of the proposal. “Now it’s Pepsi’s turn to respond, and tell shareholders how it is protecting the health of vital pollinators like bees and butterflies that our entire food system depends on.”
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Green Century Capital Management is the investment advisor to the Green Century Funds and offers two environmentally and socially responsible funds, the Green Century Equity Fund and the Green Century Balanced Fund. Green Century works to curb climate change through fossil fuel free investing, reinvestment in sustainable companies, and advocating with companies to improve their environmental policies and supply chains. Green Century also is the only U.S. mutual fund company owned by environmental non-profits, the Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs).
*As of March 31, 2015, PepsiCo Inc., Lowe’s Companies, Inc., The Home Depot, Inc. and Whole Foods Market, Inc. comprised 0.00% and 1.91%, 0.00% and 0.98%, 0.81% and 0.00%, and 1.00% and 0.25% of the Green Century Balanced Fund and the Green Century Equity Fund, respectively. 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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