Shareholders Repudiate Dr Pepper Snapple’s Weak Recycling Goal
Oakland, CA – Shareholders repudiated a weak recycling goal set in February by soda maker Dr Pepper Snapple Group by voting in even stronger numbers than last year for an As You Sow shareholder proposal calling for aggressive bottle/can recycling and recycled content goals, despite the company’s assertion that it had been substantially implemented.
As You Sow filed shareholder proposals in 2012, 2014, and 2015 asking the company to set bottle and can recycling and recycled content goals, and each proposal received the support of more than 30% of shares voted. In February 2016, the company issued a weak goal, committing to a 60% beverage container recycling rate by 2030 -- a 14-year timeline. In its proxy statement, the company argued that it had substantially implemented the proposal and that shareholders should therefore oppose it. Shareholders did not agree that this extended timeline was adequate, with 38% of shares (valued at more than $13 billion) voted in support of the proposal, an additional 9 million shares of support (7%) over the 2015 proposal.
“Dr Pepper Snapple shareholders sent a strong message of repudiation to the company,” said Conrad MacKerron, Senior Vice President of As You Sow. “We are pleased that shareholders did not rubber stamp the company’s regressive goal that would have taken a horse and buggy approach to compliance, taking 5 to 6 years longer than goals set by competitors.”
For example, in 2010 PepsiCo committed to As You Sow to recycle 50% of all beverage containers by 2018, an 8-year time line; Nestle Waters NA committed in 2009 to a 60% PET recycling goal to be achieved by 2018, a 9-year time line.
The company altogether ignored a request for recycled content goals for PET plastic bottles. Pepsi uses 10% recycled PET in plastic bottles; Nestle Waters uses 50% in select locations.
The proposal, filed by shareholder Maggie Kaplan, noted that, despite extensive curbside recycling programs, 63% of the 240+ billion beverage containers generated annually in the U.S. are discarded in landfills or littered.
As You Sow will continue to press the company to reduce the timeline for its recycling goal to come into line with peers and to set an equally aggressive recycled content goal.