Dow CEO Jim Fitterling was in the Fortune offices yesterday. He’s been busy carving out his company from the old Dow and DuPont. But interestingly, he says he also spends about 25% of his time dealing with the issue of plastic waste.
The problem, he says, is that plastic isn’t going away, and shouldn’t go away. If you replaced all plastic packaging with glass and metal containers, the carbon footprint would go up four or five times as a result, he says.
So instead, Fitterling is focusing on recycling. He was one of the organizers of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste-a group of more than 25 companies that has committed $1.5 billion over the next five years to ensure plastic gets recycled.
Recycling has actually declined in recent years due to a reduction in oil prices, which makes new plastic less expensive, and to the shutting of the Chinese market to imported plastic waste, cutting the demand for recycled material. Fitterling and his colleagues are encouraging ways to increase usage of recycled plastic–by putting it in paving asphalt, for instance. “There is not enough of a market” for the recycled stuff, he says. “We have to create demand.”
Asked why he is spending so much of his time on the plastic challenge, Fitterling responded: “My millennials all want to solve this problem, too. And it’s not just millennials. People my age want to solve it, too.” When I asked whether his board approved of him spending so much time on the issue, he turned two thumbs up.
Fitterling plans to talk about the plastic challenge when he joins us in September at the Fortune Global Sustainability Forum in Yunnan, China. (For more information, go here.).
AbbVie Buys Allergan
Humira-maker AbbVie is buying Botox-maker Allergan for around $63 billion, representing a premium of 45% on Allergan’s latest closing stock price. The news goosed Allergan’s shares by 26% and hit AbbVie’s by 15%. AbbVie is looking to boost its portfolio before generic alternatives to Humira arrive in 2023; Botox is better shielded from competition. Fortune
U.S. tech firms, such as chipmakers Micron and Intel, have decided there are legal ways to continue supplying Huawei, to an extent, despite the American blacklisting of the Chinese telecoms giant. The loophole? The U.S.-headquartered companies are able to classify their technology as foreign, thanks to their overseas subsidiaries and operations. Bloomberg
Apple has bought the autonomous vehicle startup Drive.ai at an undisclosed price. Drive.ai had recently announced its closure, and Apple reportedly snapped up its cars and dozens of engineers. Apple cut a couple hundred staffers from its own self-driving-car venture earlier this year. CNBC
Former special counsel Robert Mueller will on July 17 finally testify, in an open session, before the House judiciary and intelligence committees. It’s a big win for the Democratic chairs of those committees, who have been pushing to speak with Mueller about his investigation into President Trump and his 2016 campaign. Wall Street Journal
Around the Water Cooler
Nike in China
Nike released a limited run of trainers designed by the studio of Japan’s Jun Takahashi. However, Takahashi then expressed support on Instagram for Hong Kong citizens who have been protesting against a law that would allow extraditions to China. Nike has now pulled the line in that country. Financial Times
EY says U.K. banks are again showing signs of preparing for a no-deal Brexit by moving out of the country. Here’s the consultancy’s U.K. financial services chief, Omar Ali: “The financial impact of Brexit is beginning to fall to the bottom line, and firms are now making a direct link between financial performance and the tangible commercial impacts of Brexit.” Reuters
San Francisco is set to ban the sale of e-cigarettes–a first for a U.S. city. The legislation is the result of uncertainty over the health effects of the vaping devices. Juul, the market leader–which happens to be based in San Francisco–said the development would “create a thriving black market.” BBC
So what do you think of Democratic candidate Wayne Messam? Never heard of him? He’s aware of that, and he writes for Fortune that underdog candidates such as himself face a series of barriers. He’s a mayor, so–unlike congressional candidates–he can’t tap his local accounts for a federal campaign. He hasn’t been able to get a televised town hall, for unclear reasons. Messam writes: “Despite these inequities, I now have reached the 1% threshold in two national polls, and I will continue to press forward.” Fortune