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Posted - 04/16/2020
As You Sow Reports: New Global Commitments
From ITP Grant Partner, As You Sow:
Good news is in short supply these days – it certainly doesn’t make the headlines. So we thought you’d appreciate hearing about some of the commitments industry leaders have made to As You Sow already this year. We may be working from home, but we’re still pushing companies to improve their practices, for the benefit of all. 

Yum! Brands to Reject Styrofoam Packaging Worldwide

You might not recognize the name “YUM! Brands,” but you’ll recognize their brands — KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Habit Burger Grill. It’s the world’s biggest fast food company, with 50,000+ restaurants in 150+ countries around the world.
YUM! pledged to eliminate polystyrene (EPS) foam — Styrofoam — globally by 2022.
Styrofoam is a frequent component of beach litter, breaking down into tiny pieces that animals mistake for food. This is one more important step in cleaning up our ocean’s plastic problem. According to Conrad MacKerron, head of As You Sow’s Ocean Plastics work, “This action could significantly reduce the amount of single use packaging that ends up as littered waste, especially in developing economies where YUM! does substantial business.”
YUM!’s action will eliminate at least 100 million foam takeout containers per year. It follows McDonald’s and Dunkin’ commitments, which are removing a combined 2 billion Styrofoam cups from use annually.

Kellogg’s Takes the Lead in Reducing Toxic Pesticides

Kellogg’s will phase out pre-harvest glyphosate use for wheat and oats by 2025. That means not spraying glyphosate on crops right before harvest, a practice that leads to a higher risk of the chemical showing up as a residue in our foods.

Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Roundup. It’s the most widely used pesticide in modern agriculture, and it’s a carcinogen. Glyphosate has become a poster child for the harms of toxic pesticides — multiple court cases have ruled glyphosate is responsible for causing cancers, kidney damage, and endocrine disruption. And higher and higher concentrations of glyphosate residue are showing up in trusted foods, like oatmeal and other cereals.
Kellogg’s action will put competitive pressure on other food producers to take meaningful action to clean up their products. Ending pre-harvest glyphosate is just a first step — our ultimate goal is reducing agricultural use of all toxic pesticides in food supply chains.

Starbucks Agrees to Set Aggressive Reusables Goal

Starbucks committed to a significant expansion of its previous reusables efforts, after As You Sow and Trillium Asset Management filed shareholder resolutions in 2019 and 2020. The resolutions led to a very productive engagement, resulting in substantive steps on reusables and packaging waste. Coronavirus has put the reusables work on hold — appropriately — but Starbucks is working on both short and long term goals simultaneously. Their commitment includes:
  • Make existing single use cups more recyclable and more frequently recycled in the short term
  • Cut packaging waste 50% by 2030
  • Conduct customer research to promote behavior change
  • Pursue long-term efforts to shift to reusable containers (when appropriate, given public health requirements)
  • Starbucks’ prior commitments mostly targeted North America and Europe. These new goals cover all 82 countries where Starbucks does business.

We’ll continue to work with all these companies and monitor their progress — and we’ll keep putting pressure on all the other companies we work with, too. Thank you for standing with us, as we all learn to navigate these turbulent times. We are so much stronger, together.
Stay safe, healthy, and well,

Andrew Behar