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Amalgamated Bank Announces Significant Progress In Shareholder Activism Urging Carbon Neutral Corporate Operations
May 23, 2017

Amalgamated Bank Announces Significant Progress In Shareholder Activism Urging Carbon Neutral Corporate Operations

When it comes to finding further ways to reduce our collective carbon footprint, there is no such thing as ‘enough.’

Keith Mestrich, President & CEO, Amalgamated Bank

NEW YORK – Ahead of tomorrow’s annual PayPal shareholder meeting, Amalgamated Bank today announced significant progress with three corporate leaders on meeting long term climate goals, and urged shareholders to vote in support of the bank’s resolution pressuring PayPal to conduct a feasibility study to determine how the company can achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. This request by shareholders asks corporate leadership to evaluate how to implement more sustainable practices and meet the established goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Amalgamated Bank previously filed similar resolutions with four other major companies: GameStop, Amazon, CarMax and Netflix.
 
The resolution filed with PayPal – via the bank’s LongView Funds and co-filed by Baldwin Brothers Inc., has not resulted in a commitment to further action on the part of the company. As a result, the shareholders will now be able to vote on the proposal during tomorrow’s meeting.
 
Working with Amalgamated Bank, CarMax announced it will conduct a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and prepare a feasibility report on the company’s ability to achieve net-zero operations, and will publish the executive summary of the report online for the public to view. 
 
“When it comes to finding further ways to reduce our collective carbon footprint, there is no such thing as ‘enough’,” said Keith Mestrich, President and CEO of Amalgamated Bank. “We are heartened by the response from companies that share our understanding of the need to plan for a low carbon economy. We encourage PayPal and Netflix to follow the examples of other large companies and assess how they can respond to what we all know is coming, and to engage shareholders to find proactive and long-term solutions.”
 
The resolutions filed with GameStop and Amazon led to productive conversations about the companies’ current undertakings to reduce their carbon footprints, and their plans for the future.
 
While Amalgamated Bank recognizes and appreciates the previous steps PayPal has taken to reduce its emissions, the resolution seeks basic transparency on existing emissions and a commitment to forward-looking evaluation based on an agreement between nearly 200 countries. PayPal, despite the measurable actions it has taken on sustainability, chose to file with the SEC to block the resolution and declined to commit itself to levels of disclosure that it takes on other issues important to the company and shareholders. Having been denied by the SEC, shareholders will now get to directly consider the issue.  
 
By utilizing its position as an investor to actively call for corporate policy changes, Amalgamated Bank is raising climate change issues with senior management and boards of directors in a way that asks the target companies to consider the long-term impact of climate change on the economy, and what steps should be taken to address the issue as a matter of basic corporate policy - not just as a day-to-day operational issue. These resolutions also help ensure long-term shareholder value for Amalgamated Bank’s customers. 
 
GameStop already has significant carbon reduction activities underway, including the operation of ten facilities which each year refurbish and recycle millions of pounds of CDs, electronic devices, and accessories that would otherwise end up in landfills.  At the end of its dialogue with Amalgamated Bank’s representatives, GameStop stated on its website: “Our progress to date in this area has given us the confidence to explore the possibility of whether, in line with the global shift to a low carbon economy, GameStop could be a carbon neutral company by the mid-century.”
 
Amazon has expressed its commitment “to making further improvements in the years ahead, recognizing the goals to be achieved in the 2015 Paris Agreement,” and actively engages in several sustainability initiatives, including transitioning Amazon Web Services to 100 percent renewable energy in the coming years and using 100 percent recyclable packaging.
 
Similar to the proposal filed with PayPal, the resolution filed with Netflix did not produce a constructive dialogue with the company, and as a result, Netflix’s shareholders will have an opportunity to vote on the LongView proposal at their annual meeting in June.
 
The shareholder resolutions call for each company to use the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, prepared by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Resources Institute, to calculate their total emissions and footprint. The protocol helps companies identify the impact of both their direct emissions – from sources directly owned or controlled by the company, such as company buildings – and their indirect emissions – caused by the source of the energy used by the companies’ operations. 
 
These resolutions are only the latest in the LongView Funds’ history of shareholder activism. A proposal filed against Chipotle Mexican Grill in late 2016 resulted in the company’s agreement to strengthen its corporate oversight, and the Bank has a pending proxy proposal with Skechers to demand improved diversity among its Board of Directors. The LongView Funds control $42 billion, including $13 billion in actively managed assets. Amalgamated Bank has also made a commitment to operate with net-zero emissions by the end of 2017, making it the second largest net-zero bank in the country. 
 
About Amalgamated Bank
For nearly a century, Amalgamated Bank has been the most trusted financial institution for progressive people and organizations. By helping those who do good do better, we work to help make the world more just, compassionate and sustainable. Our extensive experience, financial resources and community of like-minded customers offers labor unions, philanthropies, political campaigns, socially and environmentally responsible corporations, as well as individuals, a unique set of financial services enabling them to lead the charge to improve our communities and our country.