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

CO-OP AMERICA TARGETS 10 OF THE LARGEST U.S. MUTUAL FUND FAMILIES FOR FAILING TO TAKE ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Ceres Report Showing Limited Progress by Funds Shows Much More Work Needs to Done, Underscores Importance of Socially Responsible Mutual Funds.

April 18, 2008

Washington, DC -- In the wake of a new report by Ceres on the still weak track record of U.S. mutual funds on climate-related shareholder resolutions, Co-op America is urging tens of thousands of Americans to contact the 10 of the nation’s largest mutual funds to do more on global warming.  

Available at /takeaction/mutualfunds/, the Co-op America online campaign is “calling on American Century, American Funds, Ameriprise, Dreyfus, Fidelity, ING, Morgan Stanley, Oppenheimer, Pioneer and Vanguard to wake up to the reality of climate change and step up to their responsibility to protect their investments and vote for progress at the companies in their portfolios, each and every time they have the chance.”

The campaign from Co-op America also notes: “Unfortunately, these 10 mutual fund families do not vote in favor of climate change resolutions, abstaining or voting against them instead for the last three years running. The shareholder process provides ample opportunity for these funds to vote for a new way of doing business, if only they would support other wiser shareholders' climate change resolutions.  These resolutions frequently call for companies to: disclose their climate emissions, explain the effects these emissions will have on their business, and develop a plan for reducing those emissions, thereby reducing the company's financial risk due to climate change.”
 
Co-op America’s Corporate Responsibility Director Todd Larsen said:  “These 10 mutual fund families are acting like climate change won’t affect our planet, the economy, and their investors. They invest in some of the companies with the worst records on climate change -- companies like ExxonMobil, Ford, and Massey Coal -- and yet time and time again, their largest funds fail to push these companies to do better.  As shareholders -- as part-owners of these companies -- mutual funds have both the right and responsibility to push their companies to improve, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because polluting companies that will suffer under consumer pressure, government regulation, and the changing times are a huge risk for the millions of people represented by these ten major fund families.  It's not just the right thing to do; it's good business.”

Commenting on the new Ceres report, Larsen said that it was encouraging to see some initial signs of progress on climate resolutions at certain mutual funds. He noted that the slow progress to date means that concerned individuals need to turn up the heat on laggard funds and also look closely at socially responsible investing mutual funds, which are leaders on climate change voting. (Information on SRI funds is available at /socialinvesting/.)

Already, more than 3,000 people have sent a message to mutual funds through the Co-op American site this year. Over the past three years, nearly 60,000 people took actions targeting major U.S. mutual funds on climate change.

ABOUT CO-OP AMERICA
Co-op America (www.greenamerica.org) 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. Its Green Business Network is the largest national network of businesses screened for their social and environmental responsibility.

CONTACT:  Todd Larsen, (202) 872-5310, or toddlarsen@greenamerica.org.

MEDIA INQUIRIES

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