McDonald’s Shareholders Demand Fast-Food Giant Develop Plan to Phase-Out Plastic Straws in All Restaurants

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April 26, 2018

Following McDonald’s Decision to Phase Out Plastic Straws in the UK, Shareholders Demand Report on Risk Associated With Continued Plastic Straw Use, and Efforts to Replace Plastic Straws

ILLINOIS -- Ahead of the McDonald’s annual general meeting of shareholders on Thursday, May 24th, SumOfUs, an international consumer group, has filed a shareholder resolution requesting the company issue a report to shareholders on the business risks associated with its continued use of plastic straws and on the company’s effort to develop and implement substitutes for plastic straws in its restaurants.

VIEW THE SHAREHOLDER RESOLUTION HERE: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/63908/000120677418001176/mcd3291681-def14a.htm#page72  

The shareholder request comes as a growing global consumer movement has called for the elimination of single-use disposable plastic straws because of their contribution to waste and deleterious impacts on marine life. McDonald’s provides single-use plastic straws in its 36,000 restaurants in over 100 countries, but recently announced plans to phase out plastic straws in the UK. The sustainability report of McDonald’s says, “Our customers have told us that one of the most important environmental issues in our restaurants is waste and recycling. We agree that we must join together with our customers and crew to tackle this issue…

McDonald’s shareholders, represented by SumOfUs argue that plastic straws could put the company at a competitive disadvantage, and that shareholder value would be enhanced by the development of plans to phase out plastic straws.

“Plastic pollution is one of the biggest threats to our oceans, and straws are one of the most common plastic items found in beach cleanups. That’s why the plan of  McDonald’s - which gives out millions of plastic straws to customers each day - to starting phasing out plastic straws in UK stores is an important first step towards cleaning up our seas and protecting wildlife,” explained Sondhya Gupta, Senior Campaigner for SumOfUs. “But if McDonald's is serious about improving its impact on the environment, it needs to investigate the risks of sticking with plastic globally, and report on those risks. ”

Earlier this year, more than 450,000 people signed a petition from SumOfUs calling on fast food giant McDonald’s to stop using plastic straws. SumOfUs argued that the straws are given to customers, discarded after minutes of use and with many ending up dumped into the ocean, heavily damaging marine wildlife, specifically turtles, baby seabirds, and fish, as a result.  

VIEW THE PETITION HERE: https://actions.sumofus.org/a/mcdonalds-is-polluting-our-oceans

A YouTube video of a plastic straw being removed from the nostril of a sea turtle has now been

watched by over 15.8 million people. This 2015 video and the prevalence of plastic straws in

marine waste have spurred consumers in the United States, Canada and Europe to ask restaurants and concession vendors to be “straw free.”

According to the Plastic Pollution Coalition, approximately 1,800 restaurants and institutions

have eliminated plastic straws. Two cities in California have banned plastic straws. A ban on

plastic straws will go into effect in Seattle, Washington in July 2018.Scotland,England,Kenya andTaiwan have also taken steps to ban disposable plastic straws.