Media Contacts: Josh Chetwynd, firstname.lastname@example.org, 303-573-5558; Andrea Ranger, email@example.com, 781-349-2813
Boston, December 6, 2021 –Green Century Capital Management
Deere & Co., which produces both the John Deere tractor and a wide array of agriculture equipment, petitioned the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) to exclude an important Green Century Capital Management° right-to-repair proposal from its annual general meeting ballot in the spring.
Citing previous SEC rulings, Deere argued to the SEC that it had already technically met the terms of the right-to-repair shareholder proposal. Although in Green Century’s opinion, Deere didn’t address the spirit of the proposal and should invite Deere’s shareholders to review the issue. “Deere seems to be more focused on stifling shareholder concerns than addressing them,” stated Green Century President Leslie Samuelrich. “Spending time and energy on an SEC challenge could be put to better use by making their products better serve their customers,” stated Samuelrich.
After meeting with Deere officials in August, Green Century decided to file a shareholder proposal due to unsatisfactory explanations about the anti-competitive nature of its repair policies. In the proposal, Green Century asked Deere to provide transparency into its business strategies regarding the restriction of repair materials. This is necessary, because to do otherwise, may expose the company to financial, legal and reputational risks.
“We filed our resolution because we have questions about Deere’s approach to repair that haven’t been clearly addressed,” said Green Century Shareholder Advocate Andrea Ranger. “There is now a tsunami of right-to-repair legislation, potential action by the Federal Trade Commission on restrictive repair practices, a presidential order that specifically calls out concerns about tractor repair, and mounting bad press facing Deere. As investors, that’s a great deal of risk for us to take on.”
Deere repeatedly cites the statistic that farmers and independent mechanics are able to make 98% of their needed repairs themselves, making the case that Deere-authorized technicians are only necessary for 2% of problems.
“Deere claims the reason it maintains absolute control over 2% of all repairs is due to environmental and safety concerns,” Ranger said. “If that’s true, then why are multiple states and the federal government still looking for more repair access? It doesn’t add up.”
Green Century recognizes the value of Deere having its own technicians, but Deere’s current model is bad for business, investors and consumers.
“No one is asking Deere to give up its trade secrets or quit its repair business,” said Green Century President Leslie Samuelrich. “We’re merely calling on the company to proactively adjust its business strategies and adapt to the reality that the right-to-repair movement is very likely here to stay.”
About Green Century Capital Management
°Green Century Capital Management, Inc. (Green Century) is the investment advisor to the Green Century Funds (The Funds). The Green Century Funds are the first family of fossil fuel free, responsible, and diversified mutual funds in the United States. Green Century Capital Management 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 September 30, 2021, Deere & Co. comprised 0.71%, 0.51% and 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund, the Green Century Equity Fund, and the Green Century International Index 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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The Green Century Funds are distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC. 235 W Galena Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212. 12/21