Andrea Ranger, Shareholder Advocate, firstname.lastname@example.org, 781-349-2813;
Pam Podger, Communications Director, email@example.com, 802-299-9495
Boston, June 2, 2023 – Shareholders have weighed in on a shareholder proposal filed by Green Century° and the Benedictine Sisters of Boerne, Texas, asking McDonald’s to establish a more ambitious policy to eliminate use of medically important antibiotics in its pork and beef supply chains. McDonald’s published the vote tally on Thursday which showed 16.6% of votes cast were in favor of the proposal.
In its opposition statement, McDonald’s acknowledges that antimicrobial resistance “is a critical global public health issue that we believe we and our suppliers have a responsibility to help address.” The term antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is often used interchangeably with antibiotic resistance, but can also describe non-bacterial resistant diseases. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies antimicrobial resistance as a global public health crisis that threatens to reverse medical progress, and the World Health Organization (WHO) identifies antimicrobial resistance as “one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity.”
Although McDonald’s first publicized that it would address antibiotic resistance in its food animal supply chain in 2003, it didn’t set reduction targets until 2017, which were narrowly focused on its chicken supply chain. Further, the targets aimed to eliminate only the antibiotics that are highly critical to medicine, failing to protect a wide range of other important antibiotics that humans use to fight infections.
The proposal filed by Green Century and the Benedictine Sisters asked McDonald’s to establish a policy that would not only eliminate routine use of all medically important human antibiotics in its pork and beef supply chains, but push the company to establish timelines, metrics for measuring implementation, third-party verification, and guidelines for enforcement should suppliers fail to meet McDonald’s targets.
In December 2022, McDonald’s did announce reduction, but not elimination, targets that are limited to its beef supply chain in its top 10 markets.
In response to the vote, Green Century Funds President, Leslie Samuelrich said:
“McDonald’s shareholders have signaled that they want to hold McDonald’s responsible for not living up to its commitments, especially when it comes to animal welfare and protecting human health. We’ll continue to work with the company, but we won’t be satisfied until it takes steps necessary to protect the effectiveness of antibiotics, which are crucial to public health. We’re looking for both action and accountability on its part.”
Andrea Ranger, Green Century Shareholder Advocate, stated:
“McDonald’s is the largest fast food restaurant in the world. As such, it has the influence to change the way food animals are raised and has the responsibility to protect public health from malicious germs which include dangerous bacteria. When I bite into a Big Mac, I want to know that the beef was sourced responsibly and that it was raised without using antibiotics that I, and society in general, need to stay healthy and whole.”
An investment strategy that incorporates environmental, social and governance criteria may result in lower or higher returns than an investment strategy that does not include such criteria.
°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, environmentally responsible mutual funds. Green Century 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 31, 2023, McDonald’s Corporation comprised 0.00%, 1.12%, 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.
The percentage in favor was calculated by (i) dividing the number of votes in support of the proposal by (ii) the sum of the number of votes voted in support of and against the proposal. Abstentions and broker non-votes were not included in the calculation.
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The Green Century Funds are distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC. 235 W Galena Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212. 6/23