Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

Mutual Fund Investors Urged To Put Heat On Mutual Fund Companies To Vote Responsibly On Global Warming Resolutions

With New Data Showing That Funds Ignore Climate Change Risks, Co-op America Hopes to Get 75,000 Investors to Pressure Largest Fund Families for Change

April 23, 2007

Washington, DC — The non-profit Co-op America is urging U.S. mutual fund investors to go to /takeaction/mutualfunds to send a message encouraging America's largest mutual funds to start voting in favor of climate change proxy resolutions. 

The Co-op America campaign already generated 10,000 emails and letters when the nonprofit Ceres investor group announced Monday that none of the 100 largest mutual funds in the U.S. voted in 2006 to support climate-related shareholder resolutions.  Now in its second year, the Co-op America campaign is aiming to generate tens of thousands of letters to America's largest mutual funds.

Visitors to Co-op America's Web site can send an email urging America's three largest mutual fund families, Fidelity, American and Vanguard, "to re-think your strategy on climate change issues and take seriously the impact that global warning will have on your funds. At next year's corporate annual meetings, there will once again be a range of resolutions on the ballot encouraging companies to address global warming. I encourage you to take these resolutions seriously."

Co-op America Climate Change Program Director Todd Larsen:  "With more than $1 trillion in investor assets, these three giant mutual fund families control 70 percent of the U.S. mutual fund market. Getting them to vote in favor of resolutions to address climate change would make a tremendous difference both for the bottom lines of investors and the long-term health of the environment."

Co-op America intends to refocus attention in September on the poor track record of the largest U.S. mutual funds on global warming with a status report on how climate-related resolutions are faring in the 2007 proxy season.   Larsen said:   "We intend to hold the largest mutual funds feet to the fire on global warming.  They need to understand that this is a risk that investors take seriously.  Our hope is that the mutual funds will get the message and start voting in favor of climate change resolutions."

A total of 30 climate-related resolutions were filed last year with U.S. companies, including insurance companies, electric power companies, oil producers, automakers, homebuilders and retailers.  

According to proxy voting data compiled by Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) for Ceres and posted today at http://www.ceres.org, none of the nation's 100 largest mutual funds voted in 2006 to support shareholder resolutions calling for more corporate disclosure on the financial impacts from global climate change.  

The Ceres report found that all 28 of the investment management companies responsible for the nation's 100 largest funds – including industry giants Fidelity, Vanguard and American Funds, which manage 55 of the 100 largest funds – abstained or opposed all shareholder resolutions in 2006 seeking greater corporate disclosure on the financial risks and opportunities from climate change. By contrast, many other institutional investors, including TIAA-CREF and California's two largest pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTRS, have backed global warming resolutions in growing numbers – with voting support levels reaching a record high of 39 percent at some 2006 annual meetings.

ABOUT CO-OP AMERICA

Co-op America is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1982, providing the economic strategies, organizing power and practicing tools for businesses and individuals to address today's social and environmental problems.  For more information about climate change and other environmental and social issues please visit http://www.greenamerica.org.

CONTACT:  Patrick Mitchell at (703) 2763266 or pmitchell@hastingsgroup.com.


Return to Newsroom »

See more Press Releases »

MEDIA INQUIRIES

Please contact Todd Larsen by email
or by phone at 202-872-5307.