In a major shift, more than three-quarters of Bloomin' Brands shareholders voted in support of a resolution urging the company to set comprehensive emissions reduction targets, including for its supply chain, and adopt a no-deforestation policy. The 76% majority vote represented a major shift from just a year ago, when only 26.5% of shareholders voted for a similar proposal. It follows on the heels of majority votes in support of stronger deforestation policy at Bunge Ltd. and Procter & Gamble and is part of a broader trend as shareholders across industries continue to support climate proposals in this year's proxy season in record numbers.
"Investors have woken up to the fact that deforestation risk is climate risk and have spoken." said Leslie Samuelrich, President of Green Century Capital Management. "The majority votes at Bunge Limited, Procter & Gamble and now Bloomin' demonstrate that protecting the tropical rainforests of Indonesia and the forests and savannahs of Brazil are not just the concerns of a smaller group of investors, but have caught the attention of the major asset managers in the U.S. It's time for Bloomin' to take the investor's concerns about material and financial risks more seriously and adopt a zero-deforestation policy that may protect its shareholder and the company."
"This is an enormously important vote that represents a big shift in support for deforestation action," said Julie Nash, Ph.D, director of food and forests at the sustainability nonprofit Ceres. "The large jump from 26.5% in 2020 to 76% in 2021 reflects the growing recognition by investors that deforestation risk is climate risk."
The vote reflects a growing desire from investors that companies account for all of their life-cycle emissions. Although a large portion of total company emissions are Scope 3, many top food and beverage companies in the U.S. do not publicly disclose them.
"This is a stark warning from investors. The majority votes at Bunge Limited, Procter & Gamble and now Bloomin' demonstrate that disclosing emissions and protecting the tropical forests have caught the attention of the major asset managers in the U.S. More investors are expecting companies not only to make climate-related risk disclosures that include land-use change, but also set targets for mitigating those risks," Nash added. About Ceres
Ceres is a nonprofit organization working with the most influential capital market leaders to solve the world's greatest sustainability challenges. Through our powerful networks and global collaborations of investors, companies and nonprofits, we drive action and inspire equitable market-based and policy solutions throughout the economy to build a just and sustainable future. For more information, visit ceres.org and follow @CeresNews.
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