DSM is a Dutch speciality chemicals and nutrition business. One of the products they make is a lightweight, high-strength polymer called Dyneema. Dyneema is used in multiple applications including in fishing nets. When these nets are lost at sea (so-called ‘ghost nets’) they continue to trap and kill sea-life.
Our objective in engaging with DSM was to understand the extent to which Dyneema is involved in ghost nets. And then secondarily to understand what steps the company has taken to mitigate the damage being caused by nets containing Dyneema.
Scope and process:
We originally sent a letter to the Investor Relations team at DSM raising the issue and seeking an initial conversation with them. We had this initial conversation in the Summer of 2018 and learnt that DSM’s involvement in ghost nets is indirect because the Dyneema material is sold through a series of third parties before being converted into cabling for fishing nets. The company’s main response to the issue of ghost nets to date has been their support – ironically also partly in the form of supply Dyneema – for use a project called ‘The Ocean Cleanup DSM’ which involves using a collection system to capture plastic and other wastes in the open ocean.
While the Ocean Cleanup DSM initiative is clearly helpful, we want to explore other ways that the company might support efforts to prevent ghost nets in the first place. We plan to partner with a leading ocean conservation organisation to explore options with the company in more detail in 2019.