STATEMENT: SEC approves Amazon’s request to block Green Century and Amalgamated proposal from 2023 shareholder ballot
Andrea Ranger, Shareholder Advocate, firstname.lastname@example.org, 781-349-2813
Pam Podger, Director of Communications, email@example.com, 860-822-3887
Boston, April 20, 2023 — On April 10th, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) upheld Amazon.com Inc.’s request to block a Green Century° and Amalgamated Bank shareholder proposal from its 2023 proxy ballot. The proposal seeks full disclosure of Amazon’s scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions, which includes emissions associated with the production and use of third-party products and transportation, waste generation, and business travel. Amazon currently publishes only a portion of its scope 3 emissions.
Amazon competitors Walmart and Target quantify, estimate where needed, and disclose all relevant categories of their scope 3 value chain emissions, as defined by the widely-referenced GHG Protocol. In its argument to the SEC, Amazon claimed that Green Century and Amalgamated Bank’s proposal, which asked it to report on its entire emissions footprint according to Protocol guidelines, constituted micromanagement. However, Amazon failed to emphasize in its letter to the SEC that it currently reports by using the Protocol’s definitions for the scopes 1 – 3 emissions that it does disclose.
Industry experts report that scope 3 emissions often constitute between 70% and 99% of companies’ greenhouse gas emissions footprint, and according to the World Economic Forum, “Companies will need to cut emissions across all three scopes to meet internationally agreed targets on global warming.” By not accounting for its full greenhouse gas footprint, Amazon may be failing to address all emissions related to running its ecommerce, retail stores, and web services. The company may be in danger of failing to meet its ambitious climate goals.
In reaction to the news, Green Century President Leslie Samuelrich expressed disappointment, “Amazon has been a leader on climate by aggressively developing wind projects and supporting the roll out of electric vehicle delivery trucks. It’s troubling that Amazon is blocking shareholders from expressing their opinions on the company’s full exposure to climate risk.”
In 2019, Amazon and the firm, Global Optimism, launched the Climate Pledge, inviting companies across the globe to “commit to net-zero by 2040 across all emissions scopes.” It is yet unclear the scopes of emissions that Amazon includes in its net-zero by 2040 goal. Walmart and Target report that 97% and 95% of their emissions come from scope 3 sources. According to Amazon, its scope 3 emissions represent only 78% of its total emissions – that is, only for the scope 3 emissions it actually publishes.
“How are we supposed to assess Amazon’s full climate risk if it’s holding back material information from investors and stakeholders?” questioned Green Century Shareholder Advocate Andrea Ranger. “Amazon is undermining other companies’ good faith efforts to disclose upstream, downstream, and operational emissions. As the UN Secretary just quipped, ‘Our world needs climate action on all fronts: everything, everywhere, all at once.’ Disclosure and action are key to reaching the world’s climate goals.”
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°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 December 31, 2022, Amazon.com, Inc. comprised 0.00%, 0.00%, and 0.00% of 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.
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