Tyson Foods Faces Shareholder Pressure for Stronger Commitment to Sustainable Packaging

Leading up to Tyson Foods’ annual shareholders meeting on February 8, a nonprofit corporate sustainability watchdog is intensifying its efforts to encourage the food processor to embrace a circular economy for packaging.

Tyson Foods has recommended rejecting a proposal put forth by As You Sow, submitted a month prior, asserting that the company is actively working to reduce plastic and packaging waste. The board contends that the proposed assessment and reporting are unnecessary, considering their current practices and disclosures.

In a proxy statement, Tyson officials stated, “The Company shares proponents’ concerns for reducing plastic pollution and is already engaged in efforts to improve packaging sustainability as well as providing public disclosure on progress on these initiatives.” However, a recent filing by As You Sow argues that Tyson’s efforts are inadequate, claiming that the company lacks substantive packaging data in the public domain, putting it at risk of violating Extended Producer Responsibility (ERP) laws.

While acknowledging Tyson’s steps towards ERP through potential partnerships for collaborative packaging solutions, As You Sow continues to emphasize the need for Tyson to explore the “full range of opportunities” to support a circular economy. The organization commended Tyson for these recent initiatives but reiterated its call for the company to set quantifiable and time-bound goals for reducing plastic packaging use, contribute financially to recycling infrastructure, and disclose comprehensive packaging data to mitigate risks associated with ERP laws.