“The forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving new strength to our people.” — President Franklin D. Roosevelt on receiving the Forestry Medal in 1935
In his quote, the ‘other Roosevelt’ (from a conservation standpoint, his cousin Teddy was better known) captured the dialectical reasons for protecting our forests. Forests provide a service by “purifying the air” (as well as supplying fresh drinking water, storing carbon and more). At the same time, they add value and prosperity to our lives by providing “new power to our people”. More than 80 years ago, there wasn’t science in terms of proving FDR’s “fresh strength” statement, but today we know that walking in the woods really is good for us.
For the reasons underlying in the FDR quote and more, we need healthy, wild forests in America and beyond our borders.
As an environmental group based in the United States, our role in protecting forests beyond our borders has come as urging and inspiring American companies to step up and commit to protecting the world’s forests. One way we do this is by collaborating with Affiliate Mutual Funds of Environment America Green Century Capital Management° Getting corporations to make changes to their business practices.
Here are three recent victories that warrant highlighting:
Bungee* votes to strengthen its deforestation policy (May 7).
Bunge is one of the “Big 4” global agricultural commodity traders, and it sources soy from Brazil, where forests are cleared to grow it.
Bunge had a policy of no deforestation, but its soy supply chain was linked to deforestation in the Cerrado region of Brazil. While not as famous as the Amazon, the region has essential root systems that store enormous amounts of carbon. Green Century led to a non-deforestation shareholder resolution calling for change in those destructive ways. Bunge’s board of directors surprised many more by recommending a yes vote 98 percent of shareholders did the sameThis is the most votes ever for a shareholder proposal for deforestation.
Green Century President Leslie Samuelrick said, “We are pleased with the board’s support, but we will be looking to ensure that the company takes comprehensive measures to eliminate deforestation and native vegetation conversion across the company’s soy supply chain. does.”
Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM) tightens its no-deforestation plan (April 19).
For years, we’ve urged ADM, the world’s largest grain merchant, to strengthen its no-deforestation plan and even asked its email followers to weigh in. Recently, Green Century and others filed a shareholder motion calling for this change. ADM got the message. The company agreed to strengthen its plan by pledging to halt the conversion of native vegetation, including the Cerrado region, to its South America soy supply chain. In addition, it agreed to make its supply chain traceable in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. With this act, Green Century withdrew its shareholder offer.
“By improving your agricultural supply chain,” Samuelrich of Green Century said, “[ADM] positions itself as an environmental leader among major grain companies.”
JPMorgan Chase expands policies on deforestation (April 8).
roughly a month ago response to a shareholder resolutionJPMorgan Chase became the first US bank to adopt new policies to help stop deforestation. Specifically, the company will require its customers in the palm oil sector to follow strict, tough forest sourcing practices, called “no deforestation, no peat, no exploitation.” JPMorgan Chase’s commitment will help enhance the performance of soy and other companies up and down the agricultural supply chain and may prompt other banks to follow suit.
more to come.
These corporate announcements are important steps in the right direction, and they are needed. in 2020, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization declared that deforestation and forest degradation are occurring at “alarming rates” and that “agricultural expansion is one of the main drivers.”
At Environment America, we will continue to lean toward campaigns that call on companies to protect forests around the world. We will continue to give “new strength” to all of us.
Image by Greg Montani from Pixabay.
°Green Century Capital Management, Inc. (Green Century) is the investment advisor of Green Century Funds (The Funds). The Green Century Fund is the first family of fossil fuel-free, responsible and diversified mutual funds in the United States. Green Century Capital Management hosts an award-winning and in-house shareholder advocacy program and is the only mutual fund company in the US wholly owned by environmental and public health non-profit organizations.
*As of March 31, 2021, Bunge Limited consisted of 0.00%, 0.06%, and 0.00% and Archer-Daniel-Midland Company consisted of 0.00%, 0.18%, and 0.00% Green Century Balanced Fund, Green Century Equity Fund, and Green Century International Index Fund respectively. As of the same date, the other securities mentioned were not held in the portfolio of any Green Century Fund. References to specific securities, which will change due to the Fund’s ongoing management, should not be construed as a recommendation by the Fund, their administrator or their distributor.
The percentage in favor was calculated by dividing the number of votes cast by (i) the number of votes in support of the motion and (ii) the number of votes cast in support of and against the motion. Avoidance and broker non-votes were not included in the calculation.
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