Kraft Heinz Co. told non-profit group As You Sow the company will set a virgin plastic reduction goal within a year. In response, the non-profit group has agreed to withdraw a shareholder proposal seeking a report on how the company would reduce the use of plastic packaging.
In response to a request for comment, Kraft Heinz issued a statement by Jonah Smith, global lead of environmental social governance at the company.
"As part of a global ESG [environmental, social and governance] strategy around sustainable packaging, Kraft Heinz has been working on this particular plastics reduction initiative for the past two years. We continue to incorporate constructive feedback on an ongoing basis through engagement with various stakeholders respective to our ESG practices. This is one of many data points that help inform our ESG platform," the company said.
As You Sow indicated that the "company intends to set a substantial virgin plastic packaging reduction goal later this year or in the first quarter of 2023" in a written statement to the group.
As You Sow, which seeks change from companies through proposals considered during annual meetings, declined to provide a copy of the Kraft Heinz statement. "We are unable to circulate our withdrawal agreement. It is a private statement. It's best you reach out to the company for comment," the group indicated in an email.
As You Sow said the company's move "continues a steady stream of major U.S. brands and retailers who have agreed to cut virgin plastic use after interaction with As You Sow."
The group, in a news release, indicated Kraft Heinz said the company would "continue to drive towards its packaging goals and support of a circular economy through a variety of initiatives and investments, including reduction of virgin plastic material, packaging redesign, increased use of recycled content, and continued exploration and scaling of reuse models."
As You Sow, based in Berkeley, Calif., seeks to create change through shareholder proposals aimed at environmental and social corporate responsibility.
As You Sow Senior Vice President Conrad MacKerron said, in a statement, his group's agreement with Kraft Heinz "involves a substantial virgin plastic reduction goal for packaging including consideration of packaging redesign and innovative reuse models."
"We have similar pending proposals at Amazon, McDonald's, and Kroger and hope that those companies can agree to reductions in the use of plastic for packaging," he said.