McDonald’s shareholders fear not banning plastic straws could put McDonald’s at a competitive disadvantage and as a result is demanding the phase out of plastic straws in ALL of the fast food chain’s restaurants.
Ahead of the McDonald’s annual general meeting of shareholders (SumOfUs, an international consumer group) has filed a shareholder resolution requesting the company issue a report to on the business risks associated with its continued use of plastic straws and on the company’s effort to develop and implement substitutes for plastic straws in its restaurants.
The shareholder request comes as a growing global consumer movement has called for the elimination of single-use disposable plastic straws because of their contribution to waste and negative impact on marine life.
McDonald’s provides single-use plastic straws in its 36,000 restaurants in over 100 countries, but recently announced plans to phase out plastic straws in the UK.
“…If McDonald’s is serious about improving its impact on the environment, it needs to investigate the risks of sticking with plastic globally, and report on those risks.”
The sustainability report of McDonald’s says: “Our customers have told us that one of the most important environmental issues in our restaurants is waste and recycling. We agree that we must join together with our customers and crew to tackle this issue…”
McDonald’s shareholders, represented by SumOfUs, argue that plastic straws could put the company at a “competitive disadvantage”, and that shareholder value would be enhanced by the development of plans to phase out plastic straws.
“Plastic pollution is one of the biggest threats to our oceans, and straws are one of the most common plastic items found in beach cleanups. That’s why the plan of McDonald’s – which gives out millions of plastic straws to customers each day – to starting phasing out plastic straws in UK stores is an important first step towards cleaning up our seas and protecting wildlife,” explained Sondhya Gupta, Senior Campaigner for SumOfUs.
“But if McDonald’s is serious about improving its impact on the environment, it needs to investigate the risks of sticking with plastic globally, and report on those risks.”
Earlier this year, more than 450,000 people signed a petition from SumOfUs calling on fast food giant McDonald’s to stop using plastic straws.
SumOfUs argued that the straws are given to customers, discarded after minutes of use and with many ending up dumped into the ocean, heavily damaging marine wildlife, specifically turtles, baby seabirds, and fish, as a result.
The news follows a survey that found 91% of people would support a full or partial ban on plastic straws in bars and restaurants to help protect the environment.