BERKELEY, CALIF. — Ahead of Tyson Foods Inc.’s annual shareholders meeting on Feb. 8, corporate responsibility non-profit group As You Sow is persisting in its push for the company to adopt a circular economy for packaging.
The group proposed that Tyson’s board of directors issue a report — at reasonable expense and excluding proprietary information — describing opportunities for Tyson to support a circular economy for packaging.
In a proxy memo, Tyson said it shares As You Sow’s concerns for plastic pollution reduction, but company officials recommended that shareholders vote against this shareholder proposal, explaining that the requested report would be “unnecessary and duplicative.”
“We report on packaging metrics, use and efforts to make packaging used for Tyson Foods branded products in our 2022 annual Sustainability Report and Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) reporting, which are publicly available,” wrote Tyson’s board of directors. “Our sustainability reporting and disclosures are informed by relevant Global Reporting Initiatives and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board standards. We also regularly engage with shareholders and other stakeholders on these and other important land stewardship issues.”
Tyson added that it is actively searching for ways to improve sustainability, including working towards innovation in sustainable packaging.
As You Sow’s most recent filing — published on Jan. 17 — contends that Tyson’s efforts fall short, putting it at risk of violating Extended Producer Responsibility (ERP) laws, which impose financial responsibility on companies for the costs of collecting, sorting and recycling their plastic packaging. Corporations could be legally responsible for as much as $100 billion annually to cover the waste management costs of their packaging, according to the group’s filing.
As You Sow encouraged Tyson to explore the “full range of opportunities” to support a circular economy for packaging.
“Our company must avoid these risks by evaluating new circularity actions for packaging, such as setting a quantifiable and timebound goal for reducing use of plastic packaging, voluntarily contributing financial support for recycling infrastructure and disclosing packaging data,” As You Sow said.