Shareholders Urge P&G to Take Financial Responsibility for Recycling

by | Oct 9, 2012

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Procter & Gamble investors and public interest groups including As You Sow, Conservation Law Foundation, Cradle2 Coalition, Trillium Asset Management and Walden Asset Management are urging the company to support a pending shareholder proposal to study the feasibility of taking financial responsibility for recycling post-consumer product packaging.

The organizations presented P&G CEO Bob McDonald with letters expressing support for the extended producer responsibility policy, which shifts accountability for financing the collection and recycling of materials from taxpayers and governments to producers.

EPR increases the volume of collected materials so closed loop recycling is more commercially feasible, one shareholder letter argued. The groups urged the global personal care product company to evaluate EPR as a means of increasing recycling rates of packaging and reducing carbon emissions.

The shareholders also said they were concerned about the potential of significant lost revenue without EPR, citing an As You Sow report that found wasted packaging in 2010 had an estimated market value of $11.4 billion.

Coca-Cola, Nestle Water, PepsiCo and Starbucks have made public commitments to take responsibility for a significant amount of their product packaging, the shareholders said. The letters also said Coca-Cola and Nestle Waters have endorsed EPR as an effective way to deal with packaging waste across industry sectors.

In July, P&G and the EPA announced they would embark on a five-year research collaboration to develop a sustainability tool for modeling and assessing product design, material sourcing, and manufacturing options.

P&G and the EPA’s National Risk Management Research Laboratory signed a cooperative research and development agreement aimed at improving sustainability at manufacturing facilities and at their associated supply chains. The research and development under the agreement will be aimed at helping P&G meet its long-term environmental sustainability vision, announced in September of 2010.

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