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.

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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.

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The Solutions

Offer tobacco-free retirement plan options

Company retirement plans should offer fund options that are sustainably invested and exclude tobacco producers.

FAQs

Answers to common questions about how retirement plans and asset managers are financing tobacco.


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Disclaimer: As You Sow is not an investment adviser

As You Sow is not an investment adviser as that term is defined under federal and state (California) laws and regulations. As You Sow is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and empowering shareholders to change corporations for the good through the collection, analysis and dissemination of relevant information to the public, free of charge. As You Sow does not provide financial planning, legal or tax advice. Nothing on this website shall constitute or be construed as an offering of financial instruments, or as investment advice or investment recommendations.
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