NOVEMBER 2014 // BOSTON, MA: Shareholders, concerned about the negative financial, social and environmental impacts of unsustainable palm oil production including deforestation, human rights abuses and climate change, recently filed a shareholder proposal with YUM! Brands (NYSE: YUM) asking the company to prepare an annual public report demonstrating the extent to which Yum is curtailing the actual impact of its palm oil supply chain.
Approximately 85% of palm oil is grown in Indonesia and Malaysia, where it is the leading driver of deforestation.
Primarily due to forest and peatland conversion, Indonesia was ranked the 3rd largest emitter of greenhouse gases globally, despite being the world’s 16th largest economy. The palm oil industry is also notorious for using child and forced labor, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Yum’s website suggests that palm oil is used as cooking oil in 30% of its 39,000 Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants.
“Many companies are already addressing these concerns. Palm oil purchasers and major suppliers have recently adopted robust and time-bound commitments to eliminate deforestation and human rights abuses from their palm oil supply chain and achieve full traceability”, said Jonas Kron, Director of Shareholder Advocacy for Trillium Asset Management, which filed the shareholder proposal along with First Affirmative Financial Network. “Companies that fail to uphold strong environmental and social values throughout their supply chains have faced significant reputational damage and consumer rejection of their products”.
Commitments, similar to those being proposed by shareholders, have been made by over 20 consumer brands including Mondelez, Dunkin Donuts, and Nestle as well as palm oil suppliers representing over 60% of palm oil produced, including Cargill, Wilmar, Goldenagri Resources, and IOI Loders Croklaan.
For more information: Randy Rice, Trillium Asset Management, email@example.com, (617) 515-6889
IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE: The views expressed are those of the authors and Trillium Asset Management, LLC as of the date referenced and are subject to change at any time based on market or other conditions. These views are not intended to be a forecast of future events or a guarantee of future results. These views may not be relied upon as investment advice. The information provided in this material should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any of the securities mentioned. It should not be assumed that investments in such securities have been or will be profitable. To the extent specific securities are mentioned, they have been selected by the authors on an objective basis to illustrate views expressed in the commentary and do not represent all of the securities purchased, sold or recommended for advisory clients. The information contained herein has been prepared from sources believed reliable but is not guaranteed by us as to its timeliness or accuracy, and is not a complete summary or statement of all available data. This piece is for informational purposes and should not be construed as a research report.