Investor Environmental Health Network reports that “Responding to shareholder concerns, McDonald’s Corporation has agreed to formally survey and promote best practices in pesticide use reduction within its American potato supply chain.” Further, McDonalds has agreed to share its findings with shareholders and include it in the annual corporate responsibility report.  McDonalds commitment will hopefully have a positive impact on the environment, public health and farm employees.  This agreement is particularly unique because it was initiated and demanded by Bard College Endowment, Newground Social Investment, and the AFL-CIO Reserve Fund.

If the resolution filed by Bard College Endowment, Newground Social Investment, and the AFL-CIO Reserve Fund had been approved, it would have required the company to publish a report on options for cutting pesticide use in its supply chain. As soon as McDonalds agreed, the groups withdrew the resolution. Taun Toay, administrative member of Bard’s Committee on Investor Responsibility (composed of both students and administrators) said, “Part of an education should involve active citizenship including a willingness to engage companies over issues of concern.”

The shareholders and McDonalds developed the plan with the support from the Investor Environmental Health Network, a collaborative partnership of investment managers advised by NGOs concerned about financial and public health risks. “Because McDonalds has such a commanding presence in the marketplace, this commitment offers the promise of significant reductions of pesticide use–which will benefit consumer health as well as farm workers, local agricultural communities and the environment,” said Bruce Herbert chief executive officer of Newground Social Investment in Seattle. Other companies–General Mills, Campbell’s and Wendy’s suppliers have already made pesticide reduction decisions. Dr. Richard Liroff, executive director of the Investor Environmental Health Network added, “We welcome McDonalds stepping up to the plate and look forward to supporting the company’s efforts to reduce pesticides in the future.”

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