STATEMENT: UPS* shareholders show lower support for Green Century climate proposal in 2023
Andrea Ranger, firstname.lastname@example.org, 781-349-2813;
Pam Podger, Communications Director, email@example.com, 802-299-9495
Boston, May 9, 2023 – Shareholders of the United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) showed lower support for a Green Century° and Trillium Asset Management proposal asking the company to adopt an independently verified science-based greenhouse gas emissions reduction target. Votes in favor reached 20%. By comparison, the same proposal filed last year by Green Century, Trillium, and a third investor achieved twenty-eight percent of votes cast in favor.
In 2021, UPS announced a goal to become carbon neutral by 2050 for emissions related to its direct operations, e.g. related to package delivery and air freight. Its goal also covers UPS’s indirect emissions, i.e. from third parties, such as the emissions from air freight provided by its vendors or emissions associated with manufacturing the goods that UPS uses, like sorting equipment. Nevertheless, Green Century remains concerned the company’s commitment may be an empty promise because its goal has not been verified by an independent third party. Nor is it clear whether UPS’s intent to reduce its direct and indirect emissions will align with limiting its greenhouse gas emissions to 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature rise. Climate experts strongly recommend that the world not exceed this temperature in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
By contrast, other companies in the transportation sector, such as passenger airlines Delta, American, Air France, Iberia, KLM, and United have all committed to set science-based targets (SBTs) via Science Based Targets initiative, a global standard setting body and verifier of SBTs. For its land transportation needs, UPS has turned to alternative fuels, such as renewable natural gas (RNG). However, some believe that the production and consumption of RNG could steer efforts away from the electrification of delivery fleets. Unlike UPS, its competitors, Fedex and Amazon, have committed to purchasing 50% EV delivery trucks by 2025 and 100% by 2030 and 100,000 EV trucks by 2030, respectively.
In response to the vote, Green Century Funds President, Leslie Samuelrich said:
“We filed the shareholder proposal for a second year in a row because we believe UPS’s sustainability efforts are not delivering for us, and we felt it was important to bring our concerns in front of all shareholders,” Samuelrich said. “Regardless of the vote, it is our opinion that UPS’s plans for emissions reductions need to be science-based and verified by credible third parties.”
Andrea Ranger, a shareholder advocate at Green Century Funds, added:
“Cutting emissions as swiftly and deeply as possible makes sense especially for transportation and logistics companies. Climate change is contributing to severe weather that will very likely threaten UPS’ operations and profitability,” Ranger said. “Just last summer, brutal heat waves sent UPS drivers to the hospital and, tragically, caused several deaths. We would like to see UPS do its utmost to rein in its emissions in order to protect human health and stabilize the climate.”
°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, comprised 0.71%, 0.77%, 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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