Green Century Capital Management Announces Whirlpool Agreement to Disclose Political Contributions
Boston -- Green Century Capital Management, Inc., a Boston-based investment adviser to the environmentally responsible Green Century Funds, applauded Whirlpool Corporation* for taking a critical first step towards greater disclosure of its political spending. The move comes as the public focuses more closely on corporate influence in the political process.
According to Green Century, Whirlpool has agreed to adopt policies that will increase the transparency and accountability of its political contributions to candidates, as well as to trade associations and other tax-exempt organizations. The agreement resulted from a dialogue Green Century had with the company.
Throughout the process, Green Century stressed the importance of ensuring shareholders are aware of the full spectrum of political donations made by Whirlpool, particularly those made to trade associations. Companies are not required by law to disclose their political contributions or payments to trade associations that may be used for political purposes. Moreover, trade associations are not required to disclose the specifics of their political spending or their membership. This secrecy leaves institutional investors, individual shareholders and member companies themselves often in the dark about the use of company resources for political activities.
To highlight the risks this lack of disclosure poses, Green Century raised the concern that while Whirlpool has taken steps to address global warming, it has also supported trade associations which continue to lobby against strong action on the problem. "Transparency and accountability are critical to ensuring that company funds are not used for policy objectives that may harm the long-term interests of the company," stated Larisa Ruoff, Director of Shareholder Advocacy at Green Century. "It is crucial that shareholders know how corporate funds are used to assess the risks that the company’s political spending may pose to the company and to avoid supporting lobbying activity they may oppose."
While Green Century commended Whirlpool for its new commitment to disclose most political contributions, it said that it will continue to encourage the company to expand its policies and practices. Whirlpool has yet to agree to fully disclose its donations to 527 organizations, which are exempt from some campaign finance regulations. "We look forward to working with Whirlpool to achieve full disclosure, and we recognize that the company's decision to disclose trade association donations and soft money payments is an important step toward that end," Ruoff said.
*As of December 31, 2008, Whirlpool Corporation comprised 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund and comprised 0.06% of the Green Century Equity Fund. Portfolio composition will change due to ongoing management of the Funds. References to specific investments should not be construed as a recommendation of the securities by the Funds, their administrator, or their distributor.
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 care about a clean, healthy planet the opportunity to use the clout of their investment dollars 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.
You should consider the Funds' investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses carefully before investing. For a prospectus that contains this and other information about the Funds, call 1-800-93-GREEN, visit www.greencentury.com or email email@example.com. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing.
Distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC 2/09
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