Green Century Posts Record-Breaking Average Vote in Support of 2011 Shareholder Proposals
Strong votes send clear message to companies
June 23, 2011—Today, Green Century Capital Management (Green Century), the investment advisor to the environmentally responsible Green Century Balanced Fund and Green Century Equity Fund, announced remarkably strong support for its shareholder proposals asking companies to disclose more information on a range of issues that pose significant business and environmental risks.
“In the 2011 proxy season, the five resolutions filed by Green Century and voted at corporate annual meetings won average support of over 30 percent*,” said Larisa Ruoff, Green Century’s Director of Shareholder Advocacy. “Unlike electoral campaigns which require a majority vote, shareholder proposals require a much smaller threshold to make an impact. When nearly one in three shares are voted in support of an environmental resolution, this sends a very clear message to the company that a meaningful portion of its owners are demanding action on an issue,” Ruoff continued.
Green Century files shareholder resolutions each year calling on companies to address environmental problems related to corporate operations or policies. According to Green Century, the filing of shareholder resolutions, which are distributed to all shareholders and voted upon at a company’s annual shareholder meeting, allows critical environmental issues to be raised with a company’s Board of Directors, top management, and shareholders.
“Our 27 percent vote at ExxonMobil Corporation**, asking the company to disclose the risks associated with oil sands development, is noteworthy and our 36% vote on the first-year resolution at FirstEnergy**, asking the company to report on the business and environmental risks associated with coal ash, is remarkable,” continued Ruoff. “These votes send strong signals to the companies that many shareholders are wary about operations that could carry serious environmental risk and that they need more information on these issues.”
Notably, the proposal Green Century filed at Ultra Petroleum**, pressing the company to increase its disclosures around the risks associated with the process of extracting natural gas using hydraulic fracturing, received nearly 42 percent* of the vote. “This extraordinary result is even more remarkable because it represents twice as much support as the same proposal received last year. Typically, a shareholder proposal may receive the same or slightly increased support from one year to another. This dramatic increase in support is amazing; we encourage Ultra Petroleum to respond to its shareholders,” continued Ruoff.
In total Green Century filed or co-filed ten shareholder proposals this year pressing companies to disclose risks on a range of issues including hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method to extract natural gas; coal ash, the toxic byproduct of burning coal; and oil sands development, an expensive and environmentally dangerous process to extract petroleum. Green Century also filed resolutions asking companies to increase the transparency and accountability of their political spending. Green Century withdrew one proposal on this issue after the Eastman Kodak Company** agreed to improve disclosure on its political spending with corporate funds.
“The strength of this year’s proxy season shows unwavering investor concern about how companies are managing the environmental risks of fossil fuel sourcing and the ongoing shift to a clean, low-carbon global economy,” said Mindy S. Lubber, president of Ceres, which coordinates the shareholder resolutions along with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR). “Investors want stronger assurances companies are effectively navigating these key market trends.”
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. Green Century manages the Green Century Balanced Fund and the Green Century Equity Fund, two environmentally responsible mutual funds.
* The percentage in favor was calculated by (i) dividing the number of votes in support of the proposal by (ii) the sum of the number of votes voted in support of and against the proposal. Abstentions and broker non-votes were not included in the calculation.
** Neither the Green Century Balanced Fund nor the Green Century Equity Fund held ExxonMobil or FirstEnergy Corporation as of March 31, 2011. As of the same date, the Balanced Fund did not hold Eastman Kodak Company or Ultra Petroleum, Eastman Kodak Company comprised 0.01% of the Equity Fund and Ultra Petroleum comprised 0.13% of the Equity 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' prospectus. References to specific investments should not be construed as a recommendation of the securities by the Funds, their administrator, or their distributor.
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The Green Century Funds are distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC. 6/11
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