August 13, 2019
The Word of 2019 Isn''t ‘Plastics'': CEO Daily
By: Alan Murray and David Meyer
Can you name a company that is 139 years old and was one of the two best performing stocks of the S&P 500 in the last 12 months?
Hint: it’s not a tech company. But if you had invested in it 12 months ago, you would have earned a stunning return of 91% – compared to just 2% for the S&P 500 as a whole.
Give up? It’s Ball Corp., best known for those iconic glass jars. The company sold off the jar business two decades ago, and now makes most of its $11.6 billion in revenue off of aluminum beverage cans. Thanks in no small part to the war on plastic, aluminum beverage cans are booming.
“Plastics have become the bad guys,” says Chip Dillon of Vertical Research Partners. “And the cheapest alternative to plastic is aluminum.” While 70% of an aluminum can can be recycled, just 3% of a plastic bottle can be.
You can read Lucinda Shen’s fascinating story on Ball Corp. here.
What does that mean for plastics? That’s a question Fortune will put to Dow CEO Jim Fitterling, who will be joining us September 4-6 at the Fortune Global Sustainability Forum, taking place at the Hilton resort on pristine Fuxian Lake in Yunnan Province, China. If you missed the Ball boom, but are wondering what the next environmentally-driven business trend might be, you should join us. Apply here, or shoot me a note.
By the way, China played a starring role in the turn against plastics by banning imports of plastic waste for recycling last year. We’ll explore that topic, too, at the September event.