General Motors becomes fourth company to leave plastics lobbying group this year

by Perry Wheeler

November 5, 2019

Washington, DC – General Motors (GM) has informed Greenpeace that it has allowed its Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) membership to lapse, citing an evolution in how the company thinks about plastics. GM is the fourth company to tell Greenpeace that it is leaving the lobbying group, as the tide continues to turn against plastics. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and SC Johnson have all made the decision to stop supporting PLASTICS as it continues to use its front group, the American Progressive Bag Alliance, to lobby for preemption bills meant to “ban plastic bans” and undermine progress on plastic pollution.

Groups like Sierra Club, As You Sow, The Last Beach Cleanup, Boston Trust Walden and Greenpeace have applied pressure to GM and other companies to end their relationships with the Plastics Industry Association to better align with their expressed concerns around plastics. The association has worked closely with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to push pro-pollution preemption laws around the country.

In response to General Motors leaving the association, Greenpeace USA Oceans Campaign Director John Hocevar said:

“The Plastic Industry Association’s continued support for anti-democratic laws that take rights away from communities working to limit single use plastics has left them with few members other than petrochemical companies. Trade associations like the Florida Retail Federation and the American Chemistry Council, and the well-known companies that support them financially, should not make the same mistake by continuing to push for laws that preempt plastic bans. Companies like Publix and 7-Eleven have not only refused to get rid of their own plastic bags, they have actively worked to prevent states, cities, and counties from taking action on plastics. It’s time for companies that claim to care about plastic pollution to get out of the way of progress.”

Jan Dell, independent engineer and founder of The Last Beach Cleanup, said:

“Plastic pollution on our nation’s roads costs millions of dollars per year for local transportation departments to clean up. GM’s support of community rights to prevent plastic pollution will help save public funds for investment in critical transportation infrastructure.”

Timothy Smith, director of ESG shareowner engagement at Boston Trust Walden, a Boston-based ESG investment firm that has been urging companies to reassess the conflict with their plastic pollution programs and membership in the Plastics Industry Association, added:

“Clearly, Americans understand the need to drastically curtail plastic pollution. Many companies get this message from consumers and investors and are adopting programs to phase out plastic waste. But it is vitally important for companies to compare their positions on plastic pollution with their lobbying and public policy advocacy on plastic waste, as well as lobbying by trade associations in which they are members and pay dues. Increasingly, this evaluation results in companies ending their membership in such plastics lobbying groups. We congratulate GM for this conscientious decision.”

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Contact: Perry Wheeler, Greenpeace Senior Communications Specialist, 301-675-8766

Perry Wheeler

By Perry Wheeler

Perry Wheeler is a senior communications specialist at Greenpeace USA.

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