Coca-Cola named most polluted brand

For the second year in a row, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, and PepsiCo are the top three most identified global brands polluting the natural environment, according to a new report.

The report, “BRANDED Volume II: Identifying the World’s Top Corporate Plastic Polluters”, and published under the responsibility of Greenpeace Philippines, takes data form four hundred and eighty-four cleanups in over 50 countries and 6 continents and identifies the top polluting companies.

Organised by the Break Free From Plastic movement in September, other companies rounding out the top 10 polluters are Mondelēz International, Unilever, Mars, P&G, Colgate-Palmolive, Phillip Morris, and Perfetti Van Melle.

“This report provides more evidence that corporations urgently need to do more to address the plastic pollution crisis they’ve created,” said Von Hernandez, global coordinator of the Break Free From Plastic movement.

This report provides more evidence that corporations urgently need to do more to address the plastic pollution crisis they’ve created

“Their continued reliance on single-use plastic packaging translates to pumping more throwaway plastic into the environment. Recycling is not going to solve this problem.

“Break Free From Plastic’s nearly 1,800 member organisations are calling on corporations to urgently reduce their production of single-use plastic and find innovative solutions focused on alternative delivery systems that do not create pollution.”

The Break Free From Plastic movement says this year’s most frequently identified companies in the brand audits – Coca-Cola, Nestlé, and PepsiCo – have offered “mostly false solutions to the plastics crisis”, referencing a Greenpeace report underscoring how important it is for voices from beyond the consumer goods sector to demand accountability and call for an end to single-use plastics.

False solutions

Earlier this week, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Dr Pepper announced a new initiative to increase the collection and recycling of their plastic bottles.

However, Abigail Aguilar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia plastic campaign coordinator says recent commitments by corporations like Coca-Cola, Nestlé, and PepsiCo to address the crisis “unfortunately continue to rely on false solutions like replacing plastic with paper or bioplastics and relying more heavily on a broken global recycling system”.

“These strategies largely protect the outdated throwaway business model that caused the plastic pollution crisis,” she said, “and will do nothing to prevent these brands from being named the top polluters again in the future.”

Coca-cola responded to the audit’s findings to an online news publication The Intercept. It said: “Any time our packaging ends up in our oceans — or anywhere that it doesn’t belong — is unacceptable to us.

“In partnership with others, we are working to address this critical global issue, both to help turn off the tap in terms of plastic waste entering our oceans and to help clean up the existing pollution.

We are investing locally in every market to increase recovery of our bottles and cans and recently announced the launch in Vietnam of an industry-backed packaging recovery organisation, as well as a bottler-led investment of $19 million in the Philippines in a new food-grade recycling facility.

“We are also investing to accelerate key innovations that will help to reduce waste, including new enhanced recycling technologies that allow us to recycle poor quality pet plastic, often destined for incineration or landfill, back to high-quality food packaging material.”

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