Amazon shareholders will vote on a matter relating to the company’s use of packaging materials at this year’s annual meeting on May 26.
Shareholder advocacy firm As You Sow submitted a proposal requesting shareholders vote to have Amazon issue a report on packaging materials, citing the ocean plastics crisis that fatally impacting marine species and damages marine ecosystems.
“Amazon does not disclose how much plastic packaging it uses but is believed to be one of the largest corporate users of flexible plastic packaging, which cannot be recycled,” according to the proposal.
As You So alleged that Amazon has no goal to make all of its packaging recyclable and said up to 22 million pounds of its plastic packaging waste entered the world’s marine ecosystems last year.
“Shareholders request that the board of directors issue a report by December 2021 on plastic packaging, estimating the amount of plastics released to the environment due to plastic packaging attributable to all Amazon operations, and beginning with the manufacture of the plastic source materials, through disposal or recycling, and describing any company strategies or goals to reduce the use of plastic packaging to reduce these impacts.”
Amazon countered by noting its initiatives and its founding membership in The Climate Pledge, as well as its commitment that 50% of all Amazon shipments will be net-zero carbon by 2030, and renewable energy programs that “have put us on a path to powering our operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025.”
“We recognize the importance of reducing plastic waste by promoting reusable and recyclable packaging. As described in more detail below, including with respect to our goals, we have made progress in four primary areas in our efforts to reduce our use of plastics:
(1) plastics in packaging for products manufactured by other companies that we sell to our customers (where we can make the biggest impact),
(2) plastics in packaging to the extent we repackage a product for delivery,
(3) plastics in Amazon devices and our private label products, and
(4) plastics in physical stores, primarily Whole Foods Market and its use of plastic shopping bags and plastic straws.”
Amazon said it has a goal of having the packaging for Amazon devices be plastic-free and made up of entirely curbside recyclable material by 2023. “We will continue to share our efforts and progress to our shareholders and the public,” and the Board recommended that shareholders vote against the proposal.
You can read the full shareholder proposal and Amazon’s response on the SEC website.