Shareholders request that the RBI Board issue a report, at reasonable expense and excluding proprietary information, describing how the Company could reduce its plastics use in alignment with the one-third reduction findings of the Pew Report, or other authoritative sources, to reduce its contribution to ocean plastics pollution.
The growing plastic pollution crisis poses increasing risks to our Company. Corporations could face an annual financial risk of approximately $100 billion should governments require them to cover the waste management costs of the packaging they produce, an increasingly adopted policy. New laws to this effect were recently passed in Maine, Oregon, Colorado, and California.
Pew Charitable Trusts released a groundbreaking study, Breaking the Plastic Wave (“Pew Report”), concluding that improved recycling is insufficient to stem plastic pollution and that companies must reduce overall plastic use by at least one-third. Without immediate and sustained new commitments, annual flows of plastics into oceans could nearly triple by 2040.
Restaurant Brands International (“RBI”) is part of a wasteful “to go” packaging culture and lags behind its competitors in taking actions to reduce the plastic pollution that results from its packaging. Competitor McDonald’s has a goal to completely eliminate the use of virgin plastic packaging by 2025, and competitor YUM! Brands has a goal to eliminate 10% of virgin plastic use across all its brands, including Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Habit Burger, by 2025. Our Company has no goal to reduce use of virgin plastic.
At least sixty additional consumer goods and retail companies have pledged to reduce use of virgin plastic packaging and nearly 100 consumer goods and retail companies have pledged to make all packaging reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025. RBI has yet to pledge entirely reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging across all its brands. Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi are leading the industry away from single-use disposables and towards a zero-waste packaging future, having each recently set goals to expand use of reusables. Despite our brand Tim Hortons’ offering in-store reusables for decades, demonstrating the viability of zero-waste practices in quick service dining, our Company has yet to set a reusable packaging goal.
Our Company could avoid regulatory, environmental, and competitive risks, and keep up with peers, by undertaking additional actions to reduce plastic pollution from its products, including reducing plastic use; making all packaging reusable, recyclable, or compostable; and shifting permanently away from single-use packaging and towards reusable containers.
The report should, at Board discretion:
- Assess the reputational, financial, and operational risks associated with continuing to use substantial amounts of single-use plastic packaging while plastic pollution grows;
-Evaluate dramatically reducing the amount of plastic used in our packaging through transitioning to reusables; and
- Describe how RBI can further reduce single-use packaging, including any planned reduction strategies or goals, materials redesign, substitution, or reductions in use of virgin plastic.