Tampa, FL, November 28, 2022 — Proxyholders of the US Vegan Climate ETF (VEGN) representing nearly $65 million in AUM have sent shareholder proposals to the Board of Directors at Centene (CNC), Elevance Health (ELV), HCA Healthcare (HCA), Molina Healthcare (MOH), and United Health Group (UNH), calling on these companies to require their hospitals to provide plant-based food options to patients at every meal, within vending machines and in the cafeterias used by outpatients, staff and visitors. Beyond Investing LLC, advisor to the US Vegan Climate ETF (VEGN), is hoping these proposals will be included in the proxy statements that these companies will circulate to shareholders in anticipation of their 2023 annual meetings.
Claire Smith, CEO of Beyond Investing, commented, “We launched VEGN to be a force for good and a means for investors to use their capital to effect positive change. We call on other shareholders in these companies to support our proposed resolutions and bring about better health outcomes for patients and improve these companies’ bottom lines.”
Optimal hospital care includes serving plant-based foods to assist patients on their road to recovery while in the hospital and informing patients of the benefits of a plant-based diet beyond their hospital stay. In a hospital, the food provided to patients is a key part of their treatment. Providing meals that are plant-based and which meet the individuals’ nutritional needs is essential to the patient’s recovery and improvement of their overall long-term health.
According to The American College of Cardiology, hospitalization can be a “teachable moment.” “By adopting plant-based options and eliminating cancer-causing food products, hospitals not only provide a vital service to patients, staff, and visitors. They also serve a key educational function, modeling healthful habits.”1
Healthful diets may also play a role in the economics of medical care, particularly for heart patients. Acute heart failure is the most common cause of readmission to a hospital within 30 days of discharge.2
Under the Affordable Care Act, the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program reduces payments to hospitals for readmissions within 30 days of discharge from the prior hospital stay.3
Individual hospital 30-day readmission rates are also compared to national averages, increasing pressure on both physicians and hospital administrators to improve outcomes. To the extent that hospitals help patients adopt healthful habits, their health benefits may be accompanied by financial benefits.
The World Health Organization has determined that processed meat is a major contributor to colorectal cancer, classifying it as a “carcinogenic to humans.” Processed meat is also linked to death from heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, “Plant-based diets help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many cancers.”4
Given the impact of nutrition on a patient’s recovery process and overall health, the proponents of these resolutions believe the board of directors and management teams of these companies have a responsibility to their investors and stakeholders to require their hospitals to provide plant-based food options to hospital patients, staff and visitors.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The US Vegan Climate ETF (VEGN) is the world’s first cruelty-free and climate-forward exchange-traded fund. VEGN seeks to provide market-capitalization-weighted exposure to US companies that satisfy its rigorous ESG standards, limiting its largest holdings to 5% of the total portfolio. VEGN aims to exclude from consideration companies that harm animals, screening out companies that are involved in animal testing, animal-derived products, as well as animals in sports or entertainment. VEGN screens out companies involved in fossil fuels and their use in energy production and also excludes companies involved in military and defense, as well as human rights abuses. VEGN seeks to track the US Vegan Climate Index (VEGAN).
Beyond Investing is a vegan investment platform comprising Beyond Investing, a US-based registered investment advisor, Beyond Advisors, a Jersey-based research firm, Beyond Impact Advisors a Swiss-based investment advisor and Beyond Animal a Swiss-based technology company. It was founded by three experienced investment professionals who follow a vegan lifestyle: CEO Claire Smith who has 37 years’ experience working in the finance industry at UBS and Albourne Partners Limited; Lee Coates OBE, of UK consultant ESG Accord and founder of Cruelty Free Super in Australia; and Larry Abele, founder of Impact-Cubed, an FCA-regulated asset manager recognized for its leadership in ESG research and investing.
1 “Planting a Seed: Heart-Healthy Food Recommendations for Hospitals.” American College of Cardiology, 2017. https://www.acc.org/membership/sections-and-councils/prevention-of-cardiovascular-disease-section/about-us/section-sub-groups/features/hospital-food-program
2 Jencks S, Williams M, Coleman E. Rehospitalizations among Patients in the Medicare Fee-for-Service Program. Journal of Vascular Surgery. 2009;50(1):234.
3 Cms.gov. Readmissions Reduction Program – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 2015. https://www.cms.gov/medicare/medicare-fee-for-service-payment/acuteinpatientpps/readmissions-reduction-program.html.
Debra Bouton of Beyond Investing is available for comment or interview.
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