McDonald’s complies with investors’ request stop using polystyrene packaging

29 January, 2018

Original source: ACTIAM

Last Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune reported that at the end of 2018 the fast food giant will stop using polystyrene packaging in its restaurants around the world and that it regards this as a small yet important step. As You Sow had already been discussing this subject with McDonald’s for some time and is pleased that it is taking this step, calling it a ‘global signal’. ACTIAM is pleased as well. Maxime Molenaar, Responsible Investment Officer at ACTIAM said: ‘Pollution due to plastic is becoming an increasing problem. To McDonald’s, it constitutes only a small portion of the packaging that is used, but these steps help us to move towards a circular and therefore waste-free economy. We are very happy with the work As You Sow has done and with the concession McDonald's has made’.

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

In the resolution, investors appealed to McDonald’s to draw up a report investigating the impact of the use of polystyrene packaging on the environment, with the final goal being to eventually phase out polystyrene-based packaging. ACTIAM supported the resolution because polystyrene packaging is a major cause of the plastic soup, which is also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Every year, eight million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean. This harms fish, birds and humans. Research has shown that polystyrene breaks up in the environment into small indigestible particles which animals confuse with food. Furthermore, it is difficult to recycle this material.

This subject links up with all of ACTIAM’s focus themes, such as climate (manufacturing the material requires a lot of energy), water and land (both in connection with pollution).

As a responsible fund and asset manager, ACTIAM regards supporting and (jointly) submitting shareholders’ resolutions and entering into engagement processes as an important way to realise its investment principles and change the course of the companies in which it invests.

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