Tractor Supply Takes Action to Phase out ‘Neonic’ Pesticides
Boston, MA // May 30, 2018 – Trillium Asset Management commends Tractor Supply Company (NASDAQ :TSCO), the largest retailer of rural lifestyle stores, for providing in its recently published 2017 Stewardship Report clear disclosure and strategies to eliminate bee harming neonicotinoid (“neonic”) pesticides in its products and supply chain.
In March, Trillium and Clean Yield Asset Management successfully withdrew a shareholder proposal asking the company to report on risks of selling pesticide-containing products linked to pollinator decline. Farms and backyard gardens maintained by Tractor Supply customers may provide important safe havens for pollinators. A typical farm or garden owner shopping at Tractor Supply would want trustworthy products that are healthy for honeybees and wild pollinators.
After constructive dialogue with management earlier this year that lead to the withdrawal of our proposal, Tractor Supply agreed to disclose steps it had already taken to identify and remove product containing neonics in its lawn and garden product line, set a time bound commitment to phase out neonics in its live goods, and expanding customer education resources on beekeeping and planting pollinator friendly gardens.
Importantly, Tractor Supply is the first company we know of to quantify and disclose its current exposure to neonics as a percentage of sales. Of 2016 total company sales, less than 0.0001% of product sold contained neonics.
Tractor Supply further states that it will continue to monitor developments in bee reproduction research and review the products and information it offers customers to support a healthy honey-bee and wild pollinator population.
While the EPA is currently re-evaluating the neonicotinoid family of pesticides, and temporarily halted the approval of new outdoor uses, in April the European Union announced a total ban on their use. The ban is expected to come into force by the end of 2018 and will prohibit outdoor use of the chemicals.
By moving ahead of regulatory compliance and taking a pre-cautionary approach, Tractor Supply is demonstrating that it is listening to investor and consumer concerns and to the growing body of science telling us we need to move away from bee-toxic pesticides.
Trillium Asset Management is the oldest independent investment advisor devoted exclusively to sustainable and responsible investing. With over $2.6 billion in assets under management, Trillium has been managing equity and fixed income investments for high net worth individuals, foundations, endowments, religious institutions, and other nonprofits since 1982. A leader in shareholder advocacy and public policy work, Trillium’s goal is to deliver both impact and performance to its investors.
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