Green Century Capital Management Announces Agreement with Eastman Kodak to Disclose Political Contributions
March 29, 2011 -- Green Century Capital Management, Inc., a Boston-based investment adviser to the environmentally responsible Green Century Funds, announced today that Eastman Kodak Company (Kodak),* agreed to improve disclosure around its political spending with corporate funds. Eastman Kodak joins the 79 other companies that have agreed to political transparency and accountability, according to the Center for Political Accountability (CPA).
According to Green Century, Kodak has agreed to adopt policies that will increase the transparency and accountability of its political contributions to trade associations and other tax-exempt organizations and provide information on the internal controls governing the company’s political spending. The agreement resulted from a dialogue Green Century had with the company in conjunction with the CPA, a nonprofit, non-partisan advocacy organization leading the political disclosure and oversight effort.
Throughout the process, Green Century stressed the importance of ensuring shareholders are aware of the full spectrum of political spending made by Eastman Kodak, particularly those indirect payments through trade associations. Companies are not required by law to disclose their corporate treasury-funded political contributions, or the portion of their dues and other payments to trade associations and other tax exempt groups 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 even member companies themselves often in the dark about the use of company resources for political activities.
In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which permits corporations to spend freely on independent advertising for and against political candidates, many investors believe this type of disclosure is more important than ever.
“The Supreme Court decision is expected to open the floodgates to vastly increased corporate political spending, meaning accountability and transparency measures are critically important to protect investors from risk,” said Larisa Ruoff, Director of Shareholder Advocacy for Green Century. The 2010 midterm elections saw an unprecedented increase in spending through independent groups, many of which are not required to and did not disclose the sources of their funding. “As shareholders, we believe comprehensive disclosure of political spending is necessary to ensure corporate funds are not directed toward policy objectives that harm the long-term interests of the company. We are pleased to see Kodak take steps to protect itself from this risk.”
Investors are concerned that the Citizens United decision may increase pressure on corporations to get involved in the political process. “It is imperative that companies protect themselves from the pressure to give and from ill-considered political spending,” said Bruce Freed, the CPA’s President. “Now it is even more important that companies are accountable for their corporate political spending. Companies that fail to do so put themselves at risk,” he continued.
While Green Century commended Eastman Kodak for its new commitment to improve disclosure of its political spending, the firm will continue to encourage the company to expand its policies and practices.
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.
* As of December 31, 2010, Eastman Kodak comprised 0.02% of the Green Century Equity Fund and 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund. Please refer to the Green Century Funds website for current information regarding the Funds' portfolio holdings. These holdings are subject to risk as described in the Funds' Summary Prospectus and Prospectus. References to specific investments should not be construed as a recommendation of the securities 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 Summary Prospectus and/or Prospectus that contains this and other information about the Funds, please click here for more information, email email@example.com or call 1-800-93-GREEN. Please read the Summary Prospectus and/or the Prospectus carefully before investing.
The Green Century Funds are distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC. 3/11
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