Boston, June 1, 2021 – Amazon.com, Inc. shareholders voted Wednesday at the company’s annual meeting on a shareholder proposal put forth by Green Century Capital Management° and As You Sow. The proposal, which urges the company to develop strategies for reducing its significant plastic footprint, garnered a notable 35% of the vote.
“Investors are taking the issue of plastic waste seriously,” said Annalisa Tarizzo, shareholder advocate with Green Century. “Amazon’s current initiatives do not effectively address plastic-related risks, despite the fact that the company has all the tools necessary to reduce its plastic use. Management should step up and make concrete commitments to addressing this significant risk.”
Amazon does not disclose metrics on its plastic use to investors, but the non-profit Oceana estimates that the company generated 465 million metric tons of plastic from its e-commerce operations alone in 2019. This estimate did not include plastic packaging from its AmazonBasics line or own-brand products at its subsidiary, Whole Foods Market.
In 2019, Amazon India made a commitment to move away from single-use plastics in its e-commerce activities. The company achieved its goal in less than ten months, demonstrating the feasibility of taking similar actions across the rest of its operations.
Much of the plastic packaging Amazon uses for shipping products is made of flexible plastic, which is not curbside recyclable. Though many of these items contain “store drop-off” labels, it is believed that only 4% of flexible plastic is actually recycled through this avenue. In order to effectively reduce marine plastic pollution over the coming decades, retailers and consumer goods companies must reduce their plastic demand one-third by 2040.
As You Sow was the lead filer of the proposal and Green Century was the co-filer.
Related resource: Amazon Wishlist: A Drastic Reduction in Plastic Use
About Green Century Capital Management
°Green Century Capital Management, Inc. (Green Century) is the investment advisor to the Green Century Funds (The Funds). The Green Century Funds are the first family of fossil fuel free, responsible, and diversified mutual funds in the United States. Green Century Capital Management hosts an award-winning and in-house shareholder advocacy program and is the only mutual fund company in the U.S. wholly owned by environmental and public health nonprofit organizations.
*As of March 31, 2021, Amazon.com, Inc. comprised 0.00%, 0.00%, and 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund, the Green Century Equity Fund, and the Green Century International Index Fund respectively. As of the same date, other securities mentioned were not held in the portfolios of any of the Green Century Funds. References to specific securities, which will change due to ongoing management of the Funds, should not be construed as a recommendation by the Funds, their administrator, or their distributor.
The percentage in favor was calculated by (i) dividing the number of votes in support of the proposal by (ii) the sum of the number of votes voted in support of and against the proposal. Abstentions and broker non-votes were not included in the calculation.
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