One-third of Amazon’s voting shareholders support action to reduce plastic packaging

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SEATTLE — In yet another example of public outcry about unnecessary plastic waste, 32.3% of Amazon shareholders who voted at the company’s May 24 annual meeting favored a resolution calling on Amazon to limit its single-use plastic packaging.

The shareholder advocacy group As You Sow filed the resolution, which would have required Amazon to develop a plan to reduce its plastic use by one-third. The result of this vote was worse than the result in 2022, when 48.9% of voting shareholders supported a similar resolution. 

“With the big debate around environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) investing, we’re not surprised to see a lower ‘yes’ vote than last year, but this is still a good show of support for reducing plastic waste,” said Pam Clough, advocate with Environment Washington Research and Policy Center. “About a third of Amazon’s voting shareholders, representing billions of dollars of assets, agree the company needs to do more to tackle the plastic waste crisis.”

The vote comes amid growing calls for Amazon to take action against plastic waste. Environment America Research and Policy Center, PIRG Education Fund, Environmental Action and Oceana have turned in petitions bearing nearly 140,000 signatures to Amazon headquarters asking the e-commerce leader to use less plastic.

The plastic that Amazon and other e-retailers wrap around our online deliveries becomes waste as soon as packages are opened. That garbage litters our communities and pollutes our environment,” said Jenn Engstrom, state director for CALPIRG Education Fund. “It’s clear that shareholders are voting to stem the growth of our mounting plastics crisis. I hope this vote spurs Amazon leadership to take action.”

According to an Oceana report from December, Amazon generated 709 million pounds of plastic packaging waste in 2021, up 18% from the prior year. With the continued growth of online shopping, plastic packaging from e-commerce is estimated to double by 2026

“Nothing we use for a few minutes should be allowed to pollute our environment for hundreds of years,” said Clough. “For a bird, fish or whale, it’s easy to mistake a small piece of plastic for food—especially when there are millions of pieces of plastic floating in our rivers and ocean. Too often, ingesting this plastic is fatal for wildlife. We’re glad to see a good number of Amazon shareholders agree we need to protect our wildlife from these dangers by reducing the amount of plastic used in the first place.”