Nikko AM joins call to reduce single use plastics

Plastic accounts for at least 85% of total marine waste, according to the UN

Nikko Asset Management has become the latest investment group to become a signatory to an investor statement calling for the reduction of single-use plastics.

In May this year, a coalition of nearly 200 investors, with $10trn in combined assets under management, signed a statement demanding companies adopt a more radical approach to reduce their reliance on plastics. They warn that the whole plastics lifecycle poses a serious and growing threat to the environment, climate, biodiversity, human rights and public health. Investors are calling for intensive users of plastic packaging – such as FMCGs and grocery retailers – to act more swiftly to address the plastics crisis.

With Nikko AM joining the coalition, led by the Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Investment (VBDO), Angélique Laskewitz, executive director of VBDO, said that companies need to “adopt a more radical approach”, and that failing to address their impacts exposes companies to financial risks with an increasing number of lawsuits being taken against companies alongside the potential threat to brand value.

“Single-use plastics in the fast-moving consumer goods and grocery retail sectors are a risk to public health, the environment and financial bottom lines. Engaging with companies on this topic demonstrates our commitment to nature and society,” added Stefanie Drews, president of Nikko AM.

“Becoming a signatory to VBDO’s statement and playing an active part in the ongoing collective engagement is just one component of our commitment to sustainability. We hope we will inspire other investors to sign, as others before us have inspired us.”

Between last July and August, the group sent out letters to two dozen companies like Ahold Delhaize, Danone and Pepsi, demanding to commit to new, concrete targets to significantly reduce material consumption, and eliminate single-use packaging and upscale reusable packaging systems.

More are expected to follow, according to Laskewitz: “Companies will almost certainly miss existing targets, increasing – rather than decreasing – their use of single-use plastic packaging overall and failing to demonstrate credible and ambitious plans for reuse. We need a new way forward. If they are not willing or able to find it themselves, we will gladly give them a little push towards the right direction.”