Sixth Large Plastics Manufacturer Agrees to Report on Plastic Pollution Pellet Spills

Updated on

BERKELEY, CA—DEC. 15, 2020—Following engagement with As You Sow, a sixth major petrochemical manufacturer, Eastman Chemical, agreed to start reporting on spills of pre-production plastic pellets, or nurdles, manufactured in its production plants, following the filing of a shareholder proposal.

Get Our Activist Investing Case Study!

Get The Full Activist Investing Study In PDF

Q3 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Eastman Chemical To Initiate Public Pellet Spill Reporting

As You Sow has been in dialogue with the company for several months and it has agreed to to initiate public pellet spill reporting in the company’s 2021 Sustainability Report, which it plans to post in the fourth quarter of 2021.

“We are pleased to see Eastman Chemical follow other industry leaders and agree to public reporting on plastic pellet spills and management,” Conrad MacKerron, Senior Vice President of As You Sow, said. “The industry does not yet require public reporting of pellet spills. We are proud that all public spill reporting commitments to date are the result of As You Sow’s engagement leadership. Baseline data from such reporting helps policymakers and other stakeholders assess the scope of this growing problem.”

The Eastman action follows similar agreements reached last year between As You Sow and ExxonMobil Chemical, and Chevron and Phillips 66, co-owners of Chevron Phillips Chemical.  Dow Chemical has also agreed to report on pellet spills. Earlier this year, Westlake Chemical and Occidental Petroleum, also agreed to report pellet spills.

Harmful Levels Of Plastic Pollution

Due to spills and poor handling procedures, an estimated 10 trillion pellets are swept into waterways during production or transport annually, and are increasingly found on beaches and shorelines, adding to harmful levels of plastic pollution in the environment. Plastic pellets are estimated to be the second largest direct source of microplastic pollution to the ocean by weight. When in the environment, plastics break up into small pieces that animals mistake for food such as fish eggs, causing fatalities from intestinal blockage.

In recognition of the agreement, As You Sow agreed to withdraw its shareholder proposal at Eastman.

As You Sow will continue to engage all six major plastic manufacturers on expanding pellet spill reporting to their supply chains. Expanded reporting would capture losses through transportation accidents like the release of 1 billion pellets into the Mississippi River last summer when a shipping container fell overboard.

To learn more about As You Sow’s work on plastic pellet, click here

As You Sow is a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building and innovative legal strategies.