Shareholders Press Pepsi On Recycling

Shareholders Press Pepsi On Recycling

Investors holding 83.3 million shares of PepsiCo, Inc. worth $3.7 billion, voted to support a shareholder resolution on recycling at the company's annual shareholder meeting today in Plano.

The investors and a coalition of lobbyists made their case before PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Roger Enrico and the company's board of directors.

"Investor sponsors of the PepsiCo shareholder recycling proposal called the 8.1% 'yes' vote today an excellent result," said Lance King, spokesman for the environmental groups supporting the shareholder recycling proposal.

"We opened a discussion today between shareholders and management on Pepsi's dismal recycling record and the growing waste problem. The investment funds sponsoring the recycling proposal clearly believe that protecting the environment and making healthy profits go hand in hand," said Bill Sheehan, network coordinator for the GrassRoots Recycling Network.

The coalition presented a letter to the PepsiCo Board of Directors signed by 98 public officials, government agencies, businesses, environmental organizations, student and community groups in support of the shareholder recycling proposal.

Walden Asset Management of Boston, Mass., and Domini Social Investments of New York are the primary co-sponsors of the shareholder recycling proposal. The proposal calls for PepsiCo to meet specific recycling goals by January 1, 2005 such as making bottles with 25% recycled plastic, and achieving an 80% national recycling rate for collection of bottles and cans.

Kenneth Scott, research analyst with Walden Asset Management, made the presentation on behalf of shareholders who hold more than 400,000 shares of PepsiCo. Scott focused on the growing plastic bottle waste problem, noting industry data showing that "an estimated three-quarters of the used plastic bottles end up in incinerators or landfills."

"More than five million Pepsi soda bottles and cans will be thrown away rather than recycled during the course of this meeting," said Pat Franklin, executive director of the Container Recycling Institute, based in Arlington, Virginia.

Ten states with bottle bills already achieve an 80% recycling rate. The proponents of the resolution called on PepsiCo to stop opposing bottle bills or come up with an alternative that achieves comparable results.

Bottle and can litter is a growing problem of special concern to Georgia environmentalist Bob Woodall, executive director of the Atlanta based Waste Not Georgia. "One-way, disposable containers used by PepsiCo are thrown on the streets of metro Atlanta, in parks, along highways, and on farmland and beaches. Litter is one of the primary reasons for the passage of most bottle bill laws. When I travel to states that place a refundable deposit on beverage containers there is much less litter."

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RELATED LINKS:

Coca-Cola Shareholders Make Gains on Recycling

PepsiCo Environmental Commitment Report (PDF)