Forward Management and Sierra Club Mutual Funds Recognize Top Environmentally Friendly Companies
SAN FRANCISCO - Forward Management has released the second annual “Forward Green Leaders,” a short-list of US large-cap public companies whose environmental practices are innovative and progressive, making them true corporate green leaders. Forward Management selected the Green Leaders from the top 100 large-cap companies that meet the environmental criteria for the Sierra Club Stock Fund and the Sierra Club Equity Income Fund. The five Forward Green Leaders for 2007 are Bank of America Corporation, Hewlett-Packard Company, Dell Inc., Whole Foods Market, Inc. and Google Inc.
Bank of America Corporation
Bank of America is in the midst of constructing a U.S. Green Building Council-certified 52-story office building in New York. When it is completed in 2008, the building will include a natural gas cogeneration plant to power the building, recycled rainwater for toilets and irrigation, high efficiency exterior glass, and lights that dim when sunlight levels are adequate. The Bank of America building will be the first domestic skyscraper to attain the highest rating set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council. In addition, Bank of America has endorsed the CERES Principles since 1996.
Hewlett-Packard has cited raising social and environmental responsibility standards in its supply chain as one of its top priorities. With its Design for Environment guidelines to introduce environmentally sound practices into the full product development and manufacturing process, HP is focusing heavily on energy efficiency, reducing materials and product recycling. HP also has successfully reduced packaging by redesigning, packing items in bulk and eliminating cartridge packaging and inserts. Finally, Hewlett-Packard owns and operates one of the world’s largest recycling plants, near Sacramento, CA.
As the first major personal computer maker to commit to specific recycling goals for computers, Dell continues to be a leader in environmental practices. Their practices include: establishing strict criteria for its recycling vendors; recycling programs with a global reuse or recycle rate of 80% in each of Dell’s office and manufacturing facilities; and participating in a number of EPA voluntary programs, including Energy Star Green Buildings, Climate Wise and Waste Wise. Additionally, Dell met the requirements of the European Union’s Restriction on Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) in July 2006 and is focused on implementing these design requirements on all global product lines. Dell also remains committed to making product retirement as easy for customers as product purchase, and has met the goal to increase product recovery in fiscal year 2006, recovering more than 18 million kilograms of used equipment for reuse or recycling.
Whole Foods Market, Inc.
Whole Foods Market is the largest seller of organic and natural foods in the U.S. To take the company beyond organic to include an emphasis on local, ethical, sustainable and humane farming, Whole Foods Market has founded a $30 million venture capital fund to invest in small artisans producing regional foods. They also are developing a tiered rating system for animal welfare standards and are committed to selling sustainably harvested fish through their partnership with the Marine Stewardship Council. In another new initiative, they have launched the Whole Trade Guarantee, partnering with Fair Trade and the Rainforest Alliance to evaluate the labor practices and environmental sustainability of imported foods. In July 2006, Whole Foods began conducting annual third-party audits of private label suppliers and implemented testing plans to track genetically modified ingredients in its products. Also in 2006 they made a landmark purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs) from wind farms to offset 100% of the electricity used in all of the company’s facilities in the U.S. and Canada. This was the largest ever purchase of wind energy credits in the U.S. and makes Whole Foods Market the only Fortune 500 company applying wind energy credits to offset all of its electricity consumption.
Google has begun constructing the nation’s largest solar electricity system at its Mountain View, Calif. headquarters. Panels are being built for the entire campus, and the roofs of its four main buildings and two adjacent buildings will be decked. With a total capacity of 1.6 megawatts – enough to supply 1,000 average California homes – the Google system will be the largest solar installation on any U.S. corporate campus, and will be among the five largest installations in the world.
“These companies are very progressive in their environmental practices, and they also exemplify our theory that companies with strong green strategies also have strong business strategies and smart management teams,” said Garvin Jabusch, co-portfolio manager for the Sierra Club Stock Fund, Director of Forward Progressive Investments and VP of Forward Management. “We are proud to recognize these companies who are leading the way for corporate America in their green practices.”
The Forward Green Leaders are part of the Sierra Club Mutual Funds’ Environmentally Qualified Investment (EQI) investment list, and are some of America’s most environmentally progressive and socially aware businesses. The EQI list contains more than 300 companies which are approved for investment in either the Sierra Club Stock Fund or the Sierra Club Equity Income Fund. The Sierra Club, known for its leading role in protecting communities and the planet, has worked with Forward Management to establish strict environmental guidelines for the Sierra Club Mutual Funds.
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