December 13, 2016
As we look forward to the quickly approaching New Year, we wanted to take this opportunity to share some of the highlights from our work of delivering impact to you, our supporters, over the course of the past year.
Thanks to you, Green Century and the environmentally and socially responsible investing field have grown, which has helped us continue our work of promoting environmental stewardship and sustainability through the power of investment.
The past year has been so full of news, events, and Green Century successes that we have separated highlights from 2016 into two separate newsletters. Below, please find the first half of the top 10 happenings from our work and the industry.
10. The Year of the Green Bond
Green bonds, which are bonds issued specifically for environmentally friendly projects, continued where they left off in 2015. By year-end, green bond issuance is projected to reach $80 billion, which would represent almost a 100% year-on-year growth.
Investors in the Green Century Funds have been early participants in this exciting evolution and as of September 30, 2016, over 50% of the fixed income portion of the Green Century Balanced Fund is invested in green bonds. For example, one of the bonds is helping to build the largest solar power plant in Latin America. Located in Chile, the project will generate 141 megawatts of clean energy; equivalent to the amount of CO2 removed annually by nearly 94 acres of forestland.
9. Sustainable Agriculture
In July, Green Century welcomed Marissa LaFave as our newest Shareholder Advocate. In addition to working on several issues, including renewable energy and food waste, one area of focus has been, and will be, working to end the overuse of antibiotics in meat. All of Green Century’s Funds avoid investing in factory farms and while our non-profit partners are targeting KFC* to end the overuse of antibiotics in meat, Green Century has been working with other restaurant chains and is currently in final negotiations with them to adopt antibiotics elimination policies.
|Shareholder advocacy campaigns are reducing overuse of antibiotics.
Image credit: 5707778059_e7d85012cf_o by U.S. Department of Agriculture. Licensed under CC BY 2.0
8. Proxy Voting: We Walk the Walk
Sustainable investing has entered the mainstream. Or, at least a number of large financial services companies started talking about it more. Proxy voting is one way to determine if your mutual fund company is walking the walk and not simply talking the talk when it comes to incorporating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) or socially responsible investing (SRI) criteria. Large firms such as BlackRock,* which has garnered media talking about the importance of climate change, has been challenged by its own shareholders for voting against environmental motions. Similarly, Vanguard* did not vote in favor of a single climate-related shareholder proposal in 2015.
Green Century, on the other hand, supports resolutions that benefit the environment 100 percent of the time, and according to Proxy Insight, which houses global shareholder voting records from more than 22,000 annual general meetings, shows that we are most likely to vote against management.
7. Advocacy Goes Global
In September, our Shareholder advocate, Kate Kroll, traveled to Indonesia to participate in the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) In Person conference to get a first-hand look at how zero deforestation policies are being implemented. Ensuring that the company agreements we negotiate through our shareholder advocacy campaigns are being implemented is just one of the ways we deliver concrete and measurable impact to our investors.
All too often, the techniques of burning and razing rainforests are used to grow palm oil, which is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world. In addition to contributing to climate change, deforestation also destroys the habitats of many endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger and displaces indigenous communities and poses human health risks.
This year, our advocacy team and global partners launched a five-year program to work with companies, investors, and policy makers to transform the international supply chain of forest risk commodities: initially with palm oil, and now expanding to soy, cattle, pulp, paper, and rubber in South America and Africa.
You can read more about Kate’s trip to Indonesia by visiting the Green Century commentary webpage where you will find several blogs about “On the Ground Working Toward Sustainable Palm Oil.”
|Green Century Shareholder Advocate, Kate Kroll, meets with smallholder farmers of palm oil during her recent trip to Indonesia|
6. Exxon* Exposed
In May, Green Century organized a coalition of investors representing $9.95 billion in assets under management to urge the Department of Justice to investigate Exxon regarding the company’s deliberate efforts to mislead the public and its shareholders about climate change. Since then, a number of reports have cited evidence that the company did indeed mislead the public about climate change as well as the value of its assets. In September, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission launched an investigation into the fossil fuel giant’s valuation of assets as well as what it told investors about its resources in the context of growing international action on climate change.
|ExxonMobil has claimed that climate change and human activity is still open to debate. Image credit: Anthropogenic global warming rejection 2013-14 by Madshurtie. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0|
Thank you, again, for helping to make these victories possible, and stay tuned for part 2 of our Top 10.
Green Century Capital Management
*As of September 30, 2016, the holdings of the International Index Fund are valued at cost. As of the same date, BlackRock comprised 0.00%, 0.56% 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 the ongoing management of the Funds, should not be construed as a recommendation by the Funds, their administrator, or their 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 1-800-93-GREEN. 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 and 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. The Funds’ environmental criteria limit the investments available to the Funds compared to mutual funds that do not use environmental 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. 12/16
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