Materials maker Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. has agreed to start providing more public reporting around pellet spills from its factories, following pressure from a shareholder advocacy group.
The Oakland, Calif.-based group As You Sow said April 9 that it was withdrawing a shareholder resolution made with CP Chem's parent companies — Chevron Corp. and the Phillips Co. 66 — after CP Chem agreed to the additional reporting.
CP Chem had announced a few days earlier, on April 3, that it was stepping up its efforts to contain pellet loss. The company announced it would join Operation Clean Sweep Blue, an enhanced version of the plastics industry's voluntary pellet loss prevention program. The company also said it would begin providing more information in its sustainability report.
As You Sow filed shareholder resolutions last year with Chevron and Phillips seeking votes at their annual meetings requiring more public information around pellet loss from CP's factories.
CP's announcement comes after ExxonMobil Chemical Co. made a similar agreement last month with AYS, which has been pressuring the materials industry for more disclosure.
"We are pleased to see Chevron Phillips follow ExxonMobil and agree to public reporting on plastic pellet spills and management," said Conrad MacKerron, senior vice president of AYS. "Such basic transparency is essential to enable policy makers and other stakeholders to assess the scope of this growing problem."
AYS said it was pressuring materials firms because resin pellets are estimated to be the second-largest direct source of microplastics in the ocean, by weight.
The group also argues that the plastics industry's voluntary pellet loss program, Operation Clean Sweep, is not strong enough because it lacks public reporting.
CP Chem, based in The Woodlands, Texas, said the new efforts are a continuation of longstanding work on pellet pollution, and it said the information it will disclose in its upcoming sustainability report will show that.
"We are always seeking ways to improve our results and joining Operation Clean Sweep Blue is yet another significant step as our company and our industry work to eliminate plastic waste from finding its way into unintended places," said Jim Becker, vice president of polymers and sustainability.
"We are pleased that the procedures and safeguards we have put into place at all facilities are working effectively to minimize and eliminate pellet spills and are confident that the numbers reported in our sustainability report will confirm the success of these initiatives."
It noted it was a founding member of the $1.5 billion industry-funded Alliance to End Plastic Waste and that it would begin publicly reporting data that previously had only been given to state regulatory agencies.
Both Chevron and Phillips 66 had tried to get the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to toss the resolutions from their upcoming shareholder meetings, but the SEC turned down their requests.
The advocacy group confirmed that CP Chem has agreed to report data it submits to state regulatory agencies.
As well, it said CP Chem will report the amount of material recovered from its resin-handling facilities that is recycled, along with "substantive information" on best management practices, production capacity and information on how it works with its supply chain share best practices and reduce pellet pollution elsewhere.