Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

McDonald's Shareholders Vote to Keep Distributing Plastic Straws

Business
McDonald's Shareholders Vote to Keep Distributing Plastic Straws
Calgary Reviews / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

McDonald's shareholders rejected a proposal to take the first step in banning plastic straws at its 36,000 outlets worldwide.

The proposal, published in an SEC filing in April, would have required the fast food giant to prepare a report on the business risks of using plastic straws, and the company's efforts to develop and implement more sustainable alternatives in its restaurants.


"We believe our company has an opportunity to improve its brand by demonstrating leadership in the elimination of plastic straws," the proposal states.

Despite vigorous campaigning from environmental activists, the proposal received only 7.65 percent of the vote at Thursday's annual meeting, USA TODAY reported.

The result was not surprising. The shareholders followed a recommendation from the chain's board of directors, who said the proposal would divert resources from their other environmental initiatives, such as a pledge made in January to source all packaging from renewable or recycled sources by 2025.

"[T]he requested report is unnecessary, redundant to our current practices and initiatives, and has the potential for a diversion of resources with no corresponding benefit to the company, our customers, and our shareholders, particularly in light of our ongoing packaging sustainability efforts," stated materials shared with shareholders before the meeting, the Mercury News reported.

McDonald's distributes 95 million plastic straws around the world every day, according to the consumer advocacy group SumOfUs, which backed the proposal.

A SumOfUs online petition urging the company to ban plastic straws has gathered more than 480,000 signatures.

"McDonald's uses millions of plastic straws every single day. Used for just a few seconds, then thrown away, many end up polluting our oceans," the petition reads. "If we can get McDonald's to ditch its dirty habit we can stop millions of plastic straws clogging up our oceans and killing the animals that live in them."

McDonald's might not be ready to take this step, but many businesses, municipalities and governments around the world are taking steps to reduce single-use plastics.

Earlier this week, Alaska Airlines announced it will stop distributing single-use plastic stirring straws and citrus picks in its lounges and on its domestic and international flights. On Wednesday, New York City Council introduced a bill to ban the use of plastic straws in the city.

In March, McDonald's said it would phase out single-use plastic straws in its UK restaurants.

A protest in solidarity with the Wetʼsuwetʼen's anti-pipeline struggle, at Canada House in Trafalgar Square on March 1, 2020 in London, England. More than 200 environmental groups had their Facebook accounts suspended days before an online solidarity protest. Ollie Millington / Getty Images

Facebook suspended more than 200 accounts belonging to environmental and Indigenous groups Saturday, casting doubt on the company's stated commitments to addressing the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Västra Hamnen neighborhood in Malmö, Sweden, runs on renewable energy. Tomas Ottosson / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Harry Kretchmer

By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.

Read More Show Less

Trending

An Extinction Rebellion protester outside the Bank of England on Oct. 14, 2019 in London, England. John Keeble / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Demonstrators from several environmental groups including Extinction Rebellion and Sunrise Movement demand broad action at a youth-led climate strike near City Hall on December 6, 2019 in New York City. Scott Heins / Getty Images

By Jacob Wallace

This story is published as part of StudentNation's "Vision 2020: Election Stories From the Next Generation" reports from young journalists that center the concerns of diverse young voters. In this project, working with Dr. Sherri Williams, we recruited young journalists from different backgrounds to develop story ideas and reporting about their peers' concerns ahead of the most important election of our lives. We'll continue publishing two stories each week over the course of September.

In the speech she gave at the People's Climate March in Washington in 2017, Jansikwe Medina-Tayac, then 15, told a crowd of thousands, "This [climate change] is not just an environmental issue. This is a race issue, this is an immigration issue, this is a feminist issue."

Read More Show Less
Rep. Sean Casten, D-Ill., places a flag at the COVID Memorial Project's interfaith memorial service to honor the 200,000 people who died due to coronavirus on the National Mall on Sept. 22, 2020. Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images

The United States passed 200,000 deaths due to COVID-19 Tuesday and experts warn that number may double before the end of the year as an autumn surge in cases starts, according to USA Today.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch