Adopting sustainable packaging at Tyson Foods.
Vote occurred February 10, 2022.
Since 2000 the world has produced as much plastic as humans have produced in all of history up to that point.1 Each year we release 11 million tons of plastic waste into the ocean. This could triple in the next 20 years without substantive action.2 If we don’t act, by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the oceans.3
Why it’s relevant
Tyson does not disclose the amount of plastic packaging it uses or any targets it has for reducing plastic use. In one independent study of corporate plastic pollution, Tyson received an F, lagging many of its competitors.4 This is out of step with other supply-chain efforts to reduce plastic use and packaging waste, including at competitors Pilgrim’s Pride, Hormel Foods, and Smithfield Foods. Many of Tyson’s largest customers, such as Walmart and Target, already have initiatives to reduce plastic packaging. This reveals a gap between Tyson’s strategy and that of its customers.
Shareholders requested that Tyson report on its use of plastic packaging and how it can increase the scale, pace, and rigor of its sustainable packaging efforts by reducing absolute plastic packaging use.
Even though unsuccessful, this proposal brought attention to the continued use of plastic packaging at Tyson—a critical issue for both the environment and Tyson’s future. The company is now taking some actions but could go further. It has reduced the use of single-use plastics and increased the amount of post-consumer recycled content in its packaging to 37.5% of all packaging. For certain brands such as Raised and Rooted, it has increased bio-based plastic material to 60% of packaging.
The proposal failed with 13.7% of the vote.