ExxonMobil, a long-time target of activist groups who claim the company skimps on investments in clean energy, has now been crowned the No. 1 producer of cheap single-use plastics (SUP) waste that is killing the world’s oceans.
A report from Australia’s Minderoo Foundation found that SUP account for a third of plastics produced each year, with 98 percent manufactured from fossil fuels.
SUP account for almost all the visible pollution in the ocean, and eventually break down into tiny particles that impact wildlife, get consumed by humans and damage the ocean’s ability to store carbon.
Minderoo’s “The Plastic Waste Makers Index” reports that the 20 top polymer producers account for more than half of all plastic waste.
Exxon ranks No. 1 on the list, producing 5.9 percent of the world’s SUP.
Dow is No. 2 at 5.6 percent, followed by China’s Sinopec (5.3 percent), Thailand’s Indorama Ventures (4.6 percent) and Saudi Aramco (4.3 percent).
To make matters even worse, Minderoo found the polymer producers rely on “virgin” (fossil fuels) feedstocks vs. recycled plastics for total output. Global capacity to produce virgin polymers for SUP is slated to grow more than 30 percent during the next five years.
The Foundation says Exxon and its corporate ilk have “an extraordinary leverage opportunity in the fight against plastic production, particularly because there are so few manufacturers."
They should quit paying lip service to sustainability and seize the opportunity to re-tool and shift from relying on fossil fuels feedstock in favor of recycled polymers.
Minderoo believes it is only a matter of time before policymakers and investors hold plastic companies responsible for polluting the world’s oceans. “Shareholders have a right to know if their money is being invested or lent to entities whose products have negative impacts on people and the planet—a measure of single-use plastic waste must be included in annual environmental, social and governance reporting,” says the Foundation’s report.
Big cities suffer COVID-19 hangovers. More than seven-in-ten Americans (71 percent) say they will not travel to urban markets this summer, according to a poll conducted for Morning Consult and commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
That’s very bad news for cities such as New York which has already seen a third of its hotel rooms (42,030 rooms) wiped out by the pandemic. About 200 hotels in NYC are shut down for good.
The collapse of the business travel market has walloped hotels in major cities. Business travel, which is down 85 percent from pre-pandemic levels, isn't expected to recover until 2023 or 2024.
Chip Rogers, CEO of AHLA, says COVID-19 has wiped out 10 years of hotel job growth. Nearly 3M jobs have been lost. The leisure and hospitality sector accounts for more than 25 percent of all unemployed people in the US.
The AHLA calls on Congress to pass the Save Hotel Jobs Act sponsored by Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz and Florida Congressman Charlie Crist to provide a lifeline to the industry until travel returns to pre-pandemic levels.