The company’s shareholders will vote on a resolution which requires it to address its plastic packaging

Oceana says that Amazon generated 599 million pounds of plastic packaging waste in 2020

Plastic pollution

Source: Oceana

Oceana says that Amazon generated 599 million pounds of plastic packaging waste in 2020

This resolution is largely a result of the Oceana campaign, featuring ocean animals, which asks the company’s investors, executives and employees for “less plastic, please.”

“This is a prime opportunity for shareholders to have Amazon do right by its customers and the planet,” said Matt Littlejohn, senior vice president, Oceana.

”Pressure is mounting as more investors learn about the company’s plastic problem and more customers call for plastic-free alternatives. Amazon’s plastic packaging generates a massive amount of waste and plastic pollution is devastating the world’s oceans.”

Held to account

If the resolution is passed on 25 May, the e-commerce giant will need to issue a report describing how it can reduce its plastic packaging use and contribution to plastic pollution. It will also need to quantify the amount of plastic packaging it uses.

According to a 2021 Oceana report, Amazon, the largest retailer in the world outside of China, generated 599 million pounds of plastic packaging waste in 2020, a 29% increase over Oceana’s 2019 estimate, referenced in the shareholder proposal.

Studies have estimated that for species, 55% percent of sea birds, 70% of marine mammals and 100% of sea turtles have ingested or become entangled in plastic and have found that plastic film, the type of plastic used by Amazon, is one of the deadliest forms of plastic for marine life.

Moreover, plastic film is extremely difficult to recycle and is not accepted at most curbside recycling programmes in the US, the UK and other large markets for the company.

Amazon, which is asking shareholders to vote against the proposal (while disputing Oceana’s estimates) does not currently report on its plastic footprint and according to Oceana, has not responded to multiple requests to share its data.

Additionally, the company has not committed to specific reduction goals for its overall plastic packaging use. Without this information, investors cannot assess their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) risk exposure on the very significant global issue of plastic pollution. 

Oceana is campaigning on the ground at Amazon’s HQ 1 and HQ 2 in Seattle and Arlington, USA, to win support for the resolution. The organisation has created a dedicated website for the endeavour: