The issue: Tobacco
Smoking is a leading cause of preventable death
Most smokers start before they’re 18. Every day, more than 2,000 young Americans become daily smokers.
Retirement plans are invested in tobacco
The World Health Organization describes tobacco as the most devastating, but preventable, epidemic of our time. Addressing the financing of tobacco companies—across lending, insurance and investment—is essential to comprehensive global tobacco control efforts.
Asset managers like Vanguard, BlackRock, and State Street are investing in tobacco – and they’re using workers’ retirement plan savings to do so. Through Vanguard, the retirement plans of companies like Amazon and Comcast are investing millions of dollars into tobacco producers.
FOCUS: SUSTAINABILITY RISK
Tobacco-promoting entertainment companies
There is scientific consensus that exposure to tobacco in movies causes kids to begin smoking. In 2012, the U.S. Surgeon General reviewed extensive scientific literature and concluded that exposure to smoking on screen causes kids to smoke.
However, the Motion Picture Association of America, the trade group for the major studios that governs the U.S. movie rating system, has repeatedly refused to adopt the R-rating for smoking. None of the major movie studios are “Tobacco Free”. Many entertainment companies promote smoking by producing kid-rated movies that depict smoking.
Offer tobacco-free retirement plan options
Company retirement plans should offer fund options that are sustainably invested and exclude tobacco producers.