Green Century Gets Starbucks* to Reduce Carbon Emissions In Response to Shareholder Concerns
February 21, 2013 — Today, Green Century Capital Management (Green Century) announced that Starbucks has agreed to purchase 100% of the palm oil it uses from certified sustainable suppliers by 2015. Starbucks made the change in response to a shareholder resolution filed by the Green Century Balanced Fund, an environmentally responsible mutual fund. Green Century was concerned about the controversial environmental practices used to secure the palm oil that Starbucks uses in many of its food products. Uncertified suppliers raze rainforests, which release greenhouse gases, and destroy habitats, to create industrial palm oil plantations.
“Shareholders needed Starbucks to address the business risks associated with sourcing conventional palm oil and it has delivered. As an environmentally-responsible investment advisory firm, we believe that improving the environmental practices of the companies in which we invest may make them better long-term investments,” stated Leslie Samuelrich, Senior Vice President, Green Century. “As the pace of global warming has accelerated, we are pleased Starbucks has decided to curb the increasingly apparent and threatening impact that global warming has on our lives and planet,” added Samuelrich.
Conventionally grown palm oil has become a high profile and controversial environmental issue because of the significant environmental degradation that can result from its cultivation. Typically, surrounding rainforests are cut down and burned to make room for planting oil palm. This deforestation releases massive amounts of greenhouse gases and destroys critically endangered habitats in Indonesia and Malaysia. Companies that have purchased from non-certified growers have become the subject of NGO advocacy and media campaigns, resulting in reputational damage and consumer rejection of their products.
“Every reduction in greenhouses gases makes a difference and we’re pleased with this progress,” commented Eric Smith, founder of Seattle-based Goodfunds Wealth Management, a branch office of KMS Financial Services, Inc. specializing in sustainable, responsible and impact investing. “With this agreement, Starbucks takes another step to protect its reputation while improving the long-term viability of its palm oil supply chain” added Smith.
Starbucks has agreed to become a member of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, and continue to work with Green Century on the delivery of the company’s commitments. Starbucks joins major companies including Unilever*, Nestle*, P&G*, General Mills*, and more in making this commitment.
Green Century Capital Management is an investment advisory firm focused on environmentally responsible investing. Founded by a partnership of non-profit environmental advocacy organizations in 1991, Green Century’s mission is to provide people who are concerned about global warming and the planet to encourage environmentally responsible corporate behavior. Green Century believes that shareholder advocacy is a critical component of responsible investing and actively advocates for greater corporate environmental accountability.
Goodfunds Wealth Management is a Seattle-based branch office of KMS Financial Services, Inc. specializing in sustainable, responsible and impact investing. Since 1986, they have helped individuals, families, foundations, and endowments align their investing with their mission and values. Goodfunds provides services through a team of licensed and credentialed investment professionals alongside an allied network that includes money managers, mutual funds, proxy vote services, shareholder advocates, donor advised funds, pooled community investing, financial planners, tax advisers, and estate planning specialists. (goodfunds.com)
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*As of December 31, 2012, Starbucks Corporation, Procter & Gamble Company and General Mills Inc., comprised 0.82% and 0.73%, 0.00% and 3.35%, 2.04% and 0.47% of the Green Century Balanced Fund and the Green Century Equity Fund, respectively. Other securities mentioned were not held in the portfolios as of December 31, 2012. 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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