Amazon rejects plastic plan because groups are pushing for a reduced use of new plastic
Amazon shareholders have rejected an attempt by environmentally conscious investors to force Amazon to detail the effects of its plastic packaging.
However, the vote can only be a brief pause in an ongoing campaign by activists to get 10 large publicly traded companies to phase out their use of virgin plastic.
Seattle-based Amazon announced late May 28th that about 64.5 percent of its shareholders had voted against the resolution, which was a pretty humble call to ask the company to report how much plastic was getting through its massive E. -Commerce activities released into the environment.
Environmental investors are still pushing for resolutions from nine other major retailers and consumer goods companies to encourage them to use less virgin plastic.
The Greens have already achieved a number of victories.
Keurig Dr. In April, for example, Pepper agreed to reduce the use of virgin plastic in packaging by 20 percent by 2025. Others, including Walmart and Target, said in early May that in return for the Greens this year, they will present detailed plastic plans to shareholders who will drop their resolutions.
The plastic debate is an unobtrusive reflection of increased shareholder activism in corporate boardrooms, such as the May 26 vote at ExxonMobil Corp., in which climate investors surprisingly ousted several board members.
In the case of Amazon, the company argued that the report requested by the Green Groups was not needed.
It cited its commitment to make 50 percent of its shipments net-zero carbon-free by 2030, use more recycled content in its plastic packaging, and support the recycling infrastructure.
But the green investors, including As You Sow of Berkeley, Calif., Want more specific plastic packaging plans from the e-commerce giant.
They pointed to announcements from PepsiCo Inc. to replace 35 percent of the virgin plastic in its beverage department with recycled content and from Unilever to cut plastic packaging consumption by 100,000 tons by 2025.
As You Sow said, the 35.5 percent approval rating was an encouraging result for the first year of voting, arguing that, in general, anything over 20 percent votes for it will attract the attention of management as it suggests that support goes beyond environmentally conscious shareholders.
“A key reason for submitting the proposal was the company’s unwillingness to sit down and speak to us,” said Conrad MacKerron, senior vice president of AYS. “We hope that this strong vote will lead to a good faith dialogue with the company about the amount of plastic it uses and how it can recycle most of its plastic waste in the short term and reduce overall plastic consumption in the long term. “
For the environmental shareholder groups, the pressure to reduce plastic is a change in strategy that puts less emphasis on recycling and encourages companies to reduce plastic.
“Improved recycling, which has been the focus of much of As You Sow’s previous work with businesses, is not enough to stem the tide of plastic pollution that is engulfing the oceans and must be combined with reducing plastic usage, redesigning and substituting materials “Said the group.