New York State Common Retirement Fund withdrew a shareholder proposal at ConAgra Foods Inc. after the company agreed to commit to using only sustainably sourced palm oil, said a statement Thursday from the $176.2 billion Albany-based pension fund.
ConAgra’s commitment to use only palm oil “grown and harvested in ways that do not contribute to rainforest destruction … helps enhance the company’s long-term value,” said Thomas P. DiNapoli, New York state comptroller and sole trustee of the pension fund, in the statement.
“By taking the added step of committing to only buying from palm oil suppliers that do not contribute to deforestation, ConAgra is promoting better environmental practices and protecting the company and its investors from reputational harm.”
The fund held 1.5 million ConAgra shares, valued at $49.9 million as of July 25, the statement said.
The pension fund co-filed the proposal with Green Century Capital Management.
Chris Kircher, ConAgra vice president, corporate affairs, confirmed the agreement.
“Over the past several years, we’ve become increasingly aware of the potential environmental and social risks associated with the cultivation, harvesting and processing of palm oil, and we have taken steps to improve the sustainability of our palm oil supply chain,” ConAgra stated in the agreement, Mr. Kircher confirmed.