Market News

 January 15, 2019
DowDuPont challenged to report plastic-pellet spills in oceans

 Midland-based DowDuPont Inc. along with other prominent petrochemical companies are being challenged by a California group to disclose when there are plastic-pellet spills in the ocean and elsewhere.

Conrad MacKerron, senior vice president of the nonprofit As You Sow, said his organization has filed shareholder proposals with DowDuPont, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Phillips 66 to disclose in annual reports the number of plastic-pellet spills in the United States and the measures in place to prevent and clean up those spills, if they occur.

DowDuPont declined to say if it has had any recent plastic spills. But the company did issue a statement via email.

"Dow is a pledged partner in operation clean sweep --- an international program designed to prevent resin pellet, flake and powder loss and help keep pellet, flake and powder out of the marine environment," wrote Rachel Schikorra, director of corporate communications and public affairs.

Schikorra said the company regularly engages with shareholders on sustainability issues as well as collaborating across the plastics value chain to develop solutions to keep plastic out of the environment.

Dow also contributed to and is a founding member of Circulate Capital's $100 million initiative to finance companies and infrastructure that prevent waste in the oceans.

MacKerron said his group is asking for annual reporting on plastic-pellet spills because it could help to reduce the amount of plastic waste that finds its way into the ocean and into the digestive systems of fish and other marine life.

"It's a totally avoidable situation, especially around (chemical) facilities around waterways," he said. "We're just basically asking for a responsible request to see if they have an initiative (on dealing with plastic pellets and cleanups)."

MacKerron that the danger is that the pellets are small and look like eggs, so they can be consumed by fish.

The pellets are produced in that specific form because they are easier to transport, as well as making them easier to be melted down and used for things such as keyboards, action figures or other items that contain plastic.