BPA Hazard Spurs Industry Innovation

Oct 21, 2010, 00:01 ET from As You Sow

New report shows food and beverage companies removing BPA from cans

Investors say transition reduces financial risk

BOSTON and SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Major brand name companies including Hain Celestial, H.J. Heinz, ConAgra, and General Mills are taking a leadership role in responding to consumer market shifts as awareness about health hazards of the endocrine disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in food can linings rises.

"Companies are actually moving faster than regulators in phasing out BPA from food and beverage packaging," explains Emily Stone of Green Century Capital Management.   Stone is co-author of a new report, Seeking Safer Packaging 2010. "Our data shows that some companies in the food and beverage industry are wasting no time in transitioning out of bisphenol A (BPA) can linings."

Hain Celestial, H.J. Heinz, and ConAgra all receive "A" grades, but other corporations, including Coca-Cola, Del Monte, Kraft and Wal-Mart receive scores of "F."

The evaluation of companies' performance was produced by Green Century Capital Management, an environmentally-responsible investment firm and advisor to Green Century Funds, and shareholder advocacy organization As You Sow.

"We surveyed 26 companies in the food, beverage and retail sectors on their responses to growing consumer concern," says Amy Galland, Research Director at As You Sow. "Since last year, there has been a significant change in the way that companies are innovating solutions to the problem."

"It is critical for investors to understand the potential liabilities for companies that use BPA in their products or product packaging," says Larisa Ruoff, Director of Shareholder Advocacy for Green Century. "With growing consumer and regulatory concern about the health effects of BPA, companies should phase out the chemical to avoid reputational, competitive, litigation and regulatory troubles."

BPA has been the focus of growing public attention, as an increasing number of scientific studies link the chemical to harmful health impacts, including heart disease, cancer, impotence and developmental problems.  Denmark and France have restricted the chemical, Canada is designating it a "toxic chemical," and Germany warned consumers to avoid it. In a response to shareholder concerns last year, BPA manufacturer Sunoco disclosed that it refuses to sell BPA to customers whose products might expose infants and small children to the chemical.

The report is available here: http://bit.ly/2010BPAExec

Green Century Capital Management: http://www.greencentury.com

As You Sow: http://www.asyousow.org