// Amazon faces pressure to reveal plastic footprint after shareholders take vote
// Activist shareholder group As You Sow called on Amazon to provide report by December
// Amazon board had recommended that shareholders vote against the proposal
Amazon is facing increased pressure to reduce its plastic footprint, as shareholders voted on a resolution calling for it to reveal how much of its plastic packaging ends up in the environment.
The resolution, co-proposed by the activist shareholder group As You Sow, calls on the online retailer to provide a report by this December, showing how much plastic packaging it uses and what actions it has taken to tackle the issue of plastic waste.
Amazon’s board of directors had recommended that shareholders vote against the proposal.
Last year, conservation group Oceana estimated that Amazon had generated 210,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste in 2019.
Amazon has since disputed Oceana’s figures, accusing the group of “dramatically miscalculating” its use of plastic.
The retailer said it reduced the weight of outbound packaging by more a third and eliminated more than a million tonnes of packaging material since 2015.
Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) recommended that Amazon shareholders vote in favour of the proposal.
In its recommendation to shareholders, ISS said Amazon’s various initiatives to design packaging that uses less plastic or is more recyclable.
“While the company discusses the impact in terms of plastic waste reduction, it does not provide an overall baseline amount of plastic used throughout its supply chain,” ISS said.
Amazon said it would review and address the “concern for reducing plastic pollution” by taking steps to share information on its progress on the issue.
It said it had made progress to reduce plastic use in four key areas: plastics in packaging for products manufactured by other companies; plastics in packaging that Amazon repackages for delivery; plastics in Amazon’s own devices and labelled products; and plastics in physical stores, such as Whole Foods.
Amazon added: “In addition, we are focused on our goal of having the packaging for Amazon devices be plastic-free and made up of entirely kerbside recyclable material by 2023.”