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Chevron Phillips agrees to report plastic pellet spills

Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. agreed to report spills of the preproduction plastic pellets.

Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. agreed to report spills of the preproduction plastic pellets considered a significant source of ocean plastic pollution, following shareholder engagement by As You Sow, the non-profit organization promoting environmental and social corporate responsibility said Tuesday.

As You Sow reached a similar agreement with Exxon Mobil in late March.

Both agreements came after the companies unsuccessfully petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission to omit the shareholder proposals, which followed efforts by As You Sow to engage with the companies. With this agreement, the shareholder proposals have been withdrawn.

Chevron Corp. and Phillips 66 each own half of Chevron Phillips Chemical. The pellets, called nurdles, are manufactured in polymer production plants, and Chevron Phillips Chemical has 33 production facilities in five countries, according to As You Sow.

The company agreed to report data submitted to state regulatory agencies on how many pellets are lost in the environment due to accidental releases from its plants, the amount of material recovered and recycled within its resin-handling facilities, and how it engages its supply chain to share best practices, among other data, and have a third-party auditor verify the reporting.

The chemical industry's Operation Clean Sweep promotes best practices for pellet management and containment to members to reduce pellet loss, but it does not provide public reporting. As You Sow tried to engage with chemical companies and when that didn't work, filed shareholder proposals with Chevron, DowDuPont, Exxon Mobil and Phillips 66, to get annual reporting on spills and measures taken to prevent and clean up spills, As You Sow said in a news release

"Such basic transparency is essential to enable policymakers and other stakeholders to assess the scope of this growing problem," said Conrad MacKerron, senior vice president of As You Sow, in a statement.