McDonald's Shareholders Vote to Keep Plastic Straws, Despite Activist Demands
McDonald’s shareholders rejected a proposal to phase out plastic straws, according to the Associated Press, marking a setback for environmentalists who had hoped to reduce the amount of waste produced by the fast-food giant.
Fewer than 8% voted in favor of the proposal, according to the BBC. The proposal put forth by a minor shareholder asked for a report on the “business risks” of keeping plastic straws, according to a SEC filing, and asked the company “to develop and implement substitutes for plastic straws in its restaurants.”
“The requested report is unnecessary, redundant to our current practices and initiatives, and has the potential for a diversion of resources with no corresponding benefit to the company, our customers, and our shareholders,” the board said, according to the BBC.
“We continue to work to find a more sustainable solution for plastic straws globally,” the company said in a statement to USA Today before the vote. “In the meantime, we have adopted compostable straws in certain markets to meet regulations while we work with packaging experts to develop a planet-friendly, cost-effective answer for all McDonald’s restaurants.”
Global consumer watchdog group SumOfUs, which backed the shareholder proposal, collected nearly 500,000 signatures asking McDonald’s to phase out plastic straws due to environmental concerns.
“McDonald’s uses millions of plastic straws every single day,” the petition reads. “Used for just a few seconds, then thrown away, many end up polluting our oceans.” Americans use roughly 500 million plastic straws per day, and plastic straws are in the top five trash items found at beaches, according to reports.
In March, McDonald’s in the U.K. pledged to work to eliminate plastic straws by requiring customers to ask for straws if they need them, and phasing in biodegradable straws.
The company as a whole has pledged to make its packaging more sustainable by 2025.
Fortune contacted SumOfUs and McDonald’s for comment about the vote result.