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Domini Social Investments Urges Shareholders to Support California Emissions Bill

a href=>Do… Social Investments, manager of the Domini
Social Equity Fund, has asked its California shareholders to contact California Governor Gray Davis urging him to sign a bill recently passed by the California legislature that would make California the first state in the nation to curb automotive emissions of greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

The shareholder initiative by Domini follows up on a similar campaign the mutual fund firm launched last year, urging its 37,000 shareholders to send postcards to EPA Secretary Christine Todd Whitman to take action against global warming by curbing the release of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, from new automobiles. According to the company, taking action against global warming reduces shareholder risk.

"One of the goals of socially responsible investing is to promote more sustainable business strategies and economic policies while mitigating risk and optimizing performance," said Amy Domini, founder and managing oprincipal of Domini Social Investments. "Our shareholders understand the connection between environmental performance and financial performance.”

The California legislation, if signed into law by Governor Davis, would be the nation's first such effort to target carbon dioxide emissions and pressure the auto industry to design and produce cleaner vehicles.

Domini's message to its California shareholders urges them to contact Governor Davis, who has already said he is "strongly inclined" to sign the auto emissions legislation.

"The California law could set a national trend," says the Domini email message. "Addressing global warming is not only good for the environment but good for investors, as we know that climate change poses tremendous risks for investors, and that companies' performance on environmental issues affects competitiveness, profitability and shareholder value."

"Global warming is the most pressing and potentially the most catastrophic environmental challenge we face," said Domini "Unfortunately, President Bush has opted out of the Kyoto Protocol and has reneged on his campaign promise to curb CO2 emissions. This means that ordinary citizens - consumers, investors, businesses, and state governments - will have to step in where the federal government has failed.”

The automobile industry opposes the California auto emissions bill, arguing that it would effectively ban SUVs, make automobiles more expensive, and constitutes a "driving tax" on consumers. Supporters of the measure dispute this, arguing that the technologies needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet the new mandate are already sitting in the automakers' laboratories.

"The automobile industry needs stronger incentives to take responsible action, and the California legislation will provide that incentive if it is signed into law," said Domini.

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