Shareholders Want Owner of Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse to End Routine Use of Antibiotics in Meat
Contact: Marissa LaFave, 617-482-0800, firstname.lastname@example.org
BOSTON, MA, September 29, 2016: At its annual shareholder meeting today, Darden Restaurants, Inc.,* the largest casual dining operator by revenue1 and owner of Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse, will be facing pressure from its investors to take stronger action in curbing the excessive and irresponsible use of antibiotics in its meat supply chain.
The misuse and overuse of antibiotics in the agricultural industry is a major cause of antibiotic resistance, a public health crisis that infects at least 2 million people in the U.S. annually and kills at least 23,000.2 Roughly 70% of antibiotics important to human medicine in the U.S. are sold for use on food animals, often for the non-therapeutic purposes of growth promotion and disease prevention in unsanitary factory farm conditions.3 As antibiotic resistance increases, medications used to treat human infections lose their effectiveness, leading the World Health Organization to warn of a looming ‘post-antibiotic’ era.4
The shareholder proposal, filed by Green Century Capital Management, calls for an expansion of Darden’s current antibiotic policy, which commits to prohibiting the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion.5 In its current form the policy is insufficient, as it does not prohibit the use of medically important antibiotics for other routine purposes, such as disease prevention, allowing for the company’s continued contribution to the antibiotic resistance crisis. The Green Century proposal aims to ensure that Darden’s meat supply chains are free of all non-therapeutic antibiotic use.
Major industry players, including McDonald’s,* Chipotle,* Panera,* Subway* and Chick-fil-A,* have already taken precautionary and proactive approaches by voluntarily phasing out the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in their meat supply chains. In contrast, Darden’s policy is lagging.
“If Darden fails to address the risks stemming from the overuse of antibiotics, the company may face loss of market share and reputational damage as its industry peers move more quickly to meet changing customer preference for antibiotic-free meat,” Leslie Samuelrich, President at Green Century Capital Management said. “The company must take the concerns of its investors and the health of its customers into consideration,” Samuelrich added.
Earlier this year, Green Century joined a coalition of over 50 institutional investors representing $1 trillion in assets under management to propose that Darden and other companies, such as McDonald’s, end the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics important to human health in their global meat and poultry supply chains.6 Since, several companies, including McDonald’s, have adopted such policies.
To learn more about Green Century’s Sustainable Investment Strategy, advocacy efforts, and how you can make an impact with the power of your investments, please visit the Why Choose Green Century webpage or call 1-800-934-7336.
About Green Century Capital Management
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.
*As of June 30, 2016, Darden Restaurants, Inc. comprised 0.10% and 0.00%, McDonald’s Corporation comprised 1.43% and 0.00%, and Panera Bread Company comprised 0.00% and 0.68% of the Green Century Equity Fund and Green Century Balanced Fund, respectively. Other securities mentioned were not held in the portfolios of the Green Century Funds as of June 30, 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.
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This information has been prepared from sources believed reliable. The views expressed are as of the date of this writing and are those of the Advisor to the Green Century Funds.
The Green Century Funds are distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC. 9/16