The Best of 2018
As the year comes to a close, we wanted to share some of Green Century’s 2018 highlights with you. It’s been an eventful and impactful year. Onto the list!
1. Investors are increasingly making fossil fuel free and responsible investments
As the first family of fossil fuel free, responsible, and diversified mutual funds in the United States, Green Century continues to welcome new investors into the fossil fuel free fold. Recently, the City of New York pension fund and the entire country of Ireland joined the party — and we’re happy to have the company!
Even more crowded is the sustainable, responsible, and impact (SRI) investment field. According to a new report from the Forum for Sustainable Investing (US SIF), SRI investment assets now account for 1 in 4 professionally-managed dollars in the United States.
To invite others to join the fossil fuel free and responsible investment movement, download our guide to fossil fuel free investing and share it with a friend.
2. Starbucks* continues steady drip of antibiotic policy wins
Starbucks Corporation announced in November that it had fulfilled its commitment – two years ahead of schedule – to only serve chicken and turkey raised without the use of medically-important antibiotics in all of its U.S. company-operated stores.
It made this public commitment in 2017, after Green Century raised its concerns about antibiotic misuse in meetings with Starbucks executives.
Incredibly, an estimated 70 percent of antibiotics used in modern human medicine are sold for use in meat and dairy production, and experts attribute antibiotic resistance in humans to this misuse of antibiotics in food-animal production.
3. Equity Fund shines in the spotlight
For the third year in a row, Bloomberg named the Green Century Equity Fund as one of the Top 10 Socially Conscious Funds in the United States. The rankings are based on one-year, three-year and five-year annualized returns, weighted equally. If only the rankings also considered environmental impact, it would have been a runaway.
With the April launch of an institutional share class for the Equity Fund, we also provided investors with a new way to invest with Green Century.
4. Green Century’s investors remain the key to our success
It’s simple. Nothing Green Century does or achieves would be possible without the support of our investors.
I am thankful that so many Americans are committed to making an impact with their investments and humbled that they have chosen Green Century as the vehicle to align their investments with their values.
5. Renewables on the rise
Green Century’s non-profit owners and partners continue to advance policies promoting a renewable economy.
In September, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 100 into law, putting California on a path to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable and zero-carbon sources, such as solar and wind, by 2045. The MIT Technology Review called SB 100 “the most important climate law in U.S. history.”
I’m pleased to report that Green Century played a role in the passage of SB 100 through its direct support of Environment California. Leading the stakeholder coalition in support of SB 100, Environment California marshaled more than 250 organizations in the environmental, public health, labor, environmental justice, faith, business and youth communities in support of the legislation.
6. Green Century engages in public food (waste) fight with Amazon*
Amazon.com, Inc. is known for many things, but being amenable to shareholder proposals is not one of them. Of course, that didn’t deter Green Century from filing a shareholder proposal, requesting that the company meaningfully assess and report on its operational strategies to minimize food waste, with the company.
In February, Amazon asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to dismiss the proposal and we pushed back — and the tussle caught the attention of The Wall Street Journal.
Of course, our goal isn’t media attention, it’s corporate action. Reducing food waste is one of the lowest hanging fruits in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change. Global food waste is responsible for an estimated 3.3 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions, twice the total greenhouse gas emissions of all vehicles on all roads in the U.S. in 2010. In the United States, nearly 40% of all food is wasted.
Rest assured, Green Century won’t back down in 2019.
7. Single-use plastics lose favor
In a year in which “single-use” was named word of the year, Green Century was ahead of the curve. Early in 2018, we provided a grant to one of our nonprofit partners to support its Wildlife Over Waste campaign, which aims to save turtles, birds, and other fauna from the harm caused by needless plastic pollution.
Scientists have found plastic fragments in an alarming number of species, including 86% of all sea turtle species, 44% of all seabird species, and 43% of all marine mammal species.
As the only mutual fund family started and owned by environmental and public health nonprofit organizations, Green Century offers investors a one-of-a-kind opportunity to make an environmental impact with their investments.
8. Green bonds grow in popularity
The European Investment Bank issued the first green (“climate awareness”) bond in 2007 and the Green Century Balanced Fund purchased its first green bonds the following year. Now, more than 60 percent of the fixed income holdings of the Green Century Balanced Fund are in green or sustainable bonds.
Green and sustainable bonds are used to finance environmental and climate change mitigation projects. One of the Green Century Balanced Fund holdings is the Starbucks Sustainability Bond, which is training farmers in Costa Rica and Mexico on sustainable coffee farming methods; making loans to coffee farmers for investments in their farms, households, and communities; and purchasing ethically-sourced coffee from suppliers around the globe.
9. Green Century shareholder advocate protects tropical forests in the field
In November, Green Century’s forest protection shareholder advocate traveled to Indonesia and Malaysia to meet with palm oil growers, processors, and traders, and the banks that finance the development of palm oil, to press them to end deforestation.
She also attended the 15th Annual General Assembly of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the world’s largest third-party certifier for sustainable palm oil. At the Assembly, the RSPO ratified and adopted enhanced certification standards, for which Green Century had actively advocated.
Green Century is the leading U.S. investment advisory firm working to press companies to address climate risk in their supply chains by stopping the unnecessary burning and razing of tropical forests in Southeast Asia and South America.
10. Corporate sustainability leaders continue to make progress
Green Century invests in environmental leaders and, as leaders, many of those companies continue to make environmental commitments on their own. For example:
Danone-North America,* which became the largest B Corporation (public benefit corporation) in the world in April, is working with its suppliers, farmers, and consumers to reduce the carbon pollution indirectly related to its products by 50% by 2030. It already cut its direct emissions in half from its 2007 levels.
Intuit,* the creator of financial assistance products like TurboTax, Quickbooks, and Mint, set a goal to reduce its carbon footprint by 50% by 2025 and become 100% powered by renewable energy by 2030. Intuit already achieved carbon neutrality throughout its entire global operations in 2015, by improving energy efficiency, investing in renewable energy, and purchasing carbon offsets.
Xylem, Inc.,* one of the world’s leading water technology companies, helps its customers test and treat water to ensure its safety, transport wastewater, and more. In 2018, it was ranked 7th in FORTUNE’s “Change the World” list of companies making a significant social impact through their core business. Xylem’s corporate citizenship and social investment program, Xylem Watermark, has helped hundreds of thousands of people gain long-term access to safe water and sanitation facilities.
11. Green Century honored by Nobel Prize winner
Green Century is proud to be the first and only firm in the U.S. to be recognized as a “Hall of Fame” financial institution by ICAN, winner of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.
Unlike many vehicles that claim to bar nuclear investment, Green Century explicitly prohibits investment in nuclear energy and nuclear weapons in its prospectus – and has for more than two decades.
How many mutual fund companies are honored by Nobel Prize winners?
What a year! Thank you again for being part of it. None of our work would be possible without you.
*As of September 30, 2018, Starbucks Corporation comprised 1.97%, 0.69%, and 0.00%; Danone SA comprised 0.00%, 0.00%, and 1.34%; Intuit, Inc. comprised 0.00%, 0.49%, and 0.00%; and Xylem, Inc. comprised 0.67%, 0.13%, and 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund, the Green Century Equity Fund, and the Green Century MSCI International Index Fund, respectively. Other securities mentioned were not held in the portfolios as of September 30, 2018. 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 the distributor.
You should carefully consider the Funds’ investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing. To obtain a Prospectus that contains this and other information about the Funds, please click here for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-934-7336. Please read the Prospectus carefully before investing.
Stocks will fluctuate in response to factors that may affect a single company, industry, sector, country, region or the market as a whole and may perform worse than the market. Foreign securities are subject to additional risks such as currency fluctuations, regional economic or political conditions, differences in accounting methods, and other unique risks compared to investing in securities of U.S. issuers. Bonds are subject to risks including interest rate, credit, and inflation. A sustainable investment strategy which incorporates environmental, social and governance criteria may result in lower or higher returns than an investment strategy that does not include such criteria.
This information has been prepared from sources believed to be reliable. The views expressed are as of the date of this writing and are those of the Advisor to the Funds.
The Green Century Funds are distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC. 235 W Galena Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212. 12/18