Despite their board of directors recommending against it, 55% of General Mills shareholders this week voted in favor of a resolution to reduce the company’s use of plastic packaging and to create annual reports on the subject.
The proposal, submitted by shareholder Green Century Capital Management at General Mills’ annual meeting, asks that the company “issue a report, at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, assessing if and how the company can increase the scale, pace, and rigor of its sustainable packaging efforts by reducing its absolute plastic packaging use.”
In addition to the impact on the planet, the fund noted the continued use of plastic packaging presents business risks to General Mills:
- “Concern for plastic waste is growing and could pose reputational risk to the Company,” especially among younger consumers.
- “General Mills’ lagging plastic policies may leave it vulnerable to a changing regulatory landscape.”
- “Competitors like Mondelez and Kraft Heinz have set or committed to set virgin plastic reduction goals, and Conagra has set an absolute plastic elimination goal. Kellogg is a signatory to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Global Commitment, through which it will also be required to set a plastic reduction goal.”
In response at the meeting, the company noted only 23% of its packaging is plastic, and General Mills has a “comprehensive” packaging commitment to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or renewable by 2030,
We asked the company, but no word yet on what its next steps will be. We'll add that when we get it.