Shareholder Resolution Urges Safeway To Adopt GMO Labeling
Blog Entry by Gina-Marie Cheeseman
Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 4:00am
(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Green Century Equity Fund recently filed a shareholder resolution to urge Safeway to voluntarily label its private line of products that contain GMOs ingredients. Safeway is one of the largest grocery store chains in North America with 1,406 stores in the U.S. and Canada. The Green Century Equity Fund is administered by the Green Century Capital Management.
The reason why Green Century filed the shareholder resolution is that it believes in customer choice. Or as Lucia von Reusner, Shareholder Advocate for Green Century Capital Management, said in a statement, “Customers have the right to decide for themselves whether or not to participate in the ongoing GMO experiment.”
“Good business means responding to consumer demand, and shareholders have reason to be concerned if Safeway is unwilling to provide the transparent labeling called for by over 90% of U.S. consumers,” von Reusner added.
Safeway has a number of private products, about 8,000 of the products sold in its stores out of approximately 45,000 products. One of those private product lines is O Organics; it contains over 300 certified organic products and is USDA organic certified, which doesn’t allow GMO ingredients to be used. Safeway also has a line called Open Nature which it bills as “100 natural.” In a statement in October, the grocery store chain announced that Open Nature will be “entirely non-GMO” by January 2015. Open Nature already includes a “number of non-GMO products,” according to the statement.
Americans favor GMO labeling and smart companies cash in on that trend
Polls show that Americans favor labeling food with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). A New York Times poll conducted earlier this year found that 93 percent of respondents think GMO foods should be labeled. Around the world 64 countries require GMO foods to be labeled, including the 15 nations in the EU, Japan, Russia, Australia, Brazil and China. Although it is not required on a federal level in the U.S., Connecticut and Maine passed legislation this year requiring GMO labeling.
Safeway’s competitor, Whole Foods, announced earlier this year that by 2018 all products in it stores that contain GMO ingredients must be labeled. It is the first and only national grocery store chain to set a deadline for phasing in GMO labeling. Other companies voluntarily disclose GMO ingredients in its products, including Chipotle and Ben & Jerry’s. Ben & Jerry’s supports mandatory GMO labeling, and by “midyear 2014” its products “everywhere” will be sourced from non-GMO ingredients. Currently, 80 percent of the ingredients in its products sold in the U.S. and Canada are sourced from non-GMO ingredients and 100 percent in Europe. Chipotle’s states on its website that its goal is to “eliminate GMOs” from its ingredients.
Photo: Ninja M.