PLASTICS AND ENVIRONMENT
As You Sow files shareholder proposals with 10 consumer goods giants to reduce plastics use / Call for sustained commitments / Urgent new findings from EMF report
Citing urgent new data on the growing plastics pollution, US environmental pressure group As You Sow (Berkeley, California; www.asyousow.org) has filed shareholder proposals with 10 major consumer goods companies and retailers, calling for commitments to cut back the use of plastic packaging.

The shareholder proposals were filed with Amazon, Keurig Dr Pepper, KraftHeinz, Kroger, McDonalds, Mondelez International, PepsiCo, Restaurant Brands International, Target and Walmart. Interestingly, Keurig Dr Pepper Canada and Walmart Canada recently became founding partners of “Canada Plastics Pact” (see Plasteurope.com of 18.02.2021). Online retailer Amazon, on the other hand, has been swimming against the wave of sustainable packaging in Germany since 2019 (see Plasteurope.com of 19.09.2019). Additionally, Keurig, Mondelez, PepsiCo, Target and Walmart are signatories of the “New Plastics Economy Global Commitment” coalition (see Plasteurope.com of 31.10.2019), whose recent progress report called on members to step up efforts to set “ambitious reduction targets for plastic packaging.”

The recent shareholder proposals ask the companies to estimate how much of their plastic packaging leaks into the environment, describe strategies or goals to reduce use of plastic packaging, and evaluate opportunities for dramatic reductions in plastic packaging.

The proposals have been filed based on data collected in the report, “Breaking the Plastic Wave: A Comprehensive Assessment of Pathways Towards Stopping Ocean Plastic Pollution” by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF, Cowes / UK; www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org), environmental group Common Seas (Bristol / UK; www.commonseas.com), the University of Oxford and the University of Leeds. The report states that if all current industry and government commitments to address plastics pollution were met, ocean plastics deposition would be reduced by only 7%. Without immediate and sustained new commitments throughout the plastics value chain, the annual flow of plastics into oceans could nearly triple in the next 20 years.

Conrad MacKerron, senior vice president of As You Sow, said, “This year, our efforts will focus on educating corporate management and shareholders about these urgent new findings and engaging management to immediately begin the process of transitioning to less use of plastic for packaging.”

In 2020, As You Sow had also released a report criticising brand owners and retailers for failing to address the waste crisis (see Plasteurope.com of 14.07.2020). The one company that received a relatively decent score on As You Sow’s report back then, and has agreed to significant quantitative cuts in plastics use now – 100,000 t by 2025, a 14% reduction in plastics use over a 2019 baseline – is Unilever (Rotterdam / The Netherlands; www.unilever.com).
25.02.2021 Plasteurope.com [246821-0]
Published on 25.02.2021

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Date of print: 18.04.2021 17:30:48   (Ref: 545279012)
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