Global plastic pledge signed by Coke, Nestlé and others weak on reduction

Leading brands have no plans in place to reduce their overall plastic output


Greenpeace has cautiously welcomed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment announced today by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, but has also pointed out how the leading consumer brands involved have no plans to reduce their overall plastic output.

Coke, Danone, Mars, Pepsi and Unilever are among the 250+ signatories that have pledged to tackle plastic pollution.

Greenpeace, a member of the Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) movement, has urged these corporations to commit to concrete actions to reduce their plastic footprint.

In response to today’s announcement by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Greenpeace UK senior oceans campaigner Louise Edge said:

“The sheer number and size of the companies behind this pledge shows the industry is responding to people’s concerns about the impacts of plastic waste, but the individual commitments being made by companies to date just don’t go far enough. Making packaging more recyclable is a step forward, but making more recyclable packaging isn’t.

“The problem is that leading brands are already producing more plastic waste than our recycling systems can cope with, with the overflow being dumped in South East Asia or burnt in incinerators. Just because something is recyclable, it doesn’t mean it will actually be recycled. With our recycling sector creaking at the seams and global plastic production set to quadruple by 2050, we need leading consumer brands to bring in ambitious targets to reduce the amount of single-use plastic they put in circulation.”

recent Greenpeace survey revealed that 11 of the world’s largest fast-moving consumer goods companies have plans that allow them to increase production of single-use plastics while none have set clear elimination or reduction targets.

An investigation by Greenpeace’s Unearthed published last week also showed how plastic recycling from the UK and many other western countries has ended up in illegal waste sites in Malaysia as the country has become the world’s main destination for plastic waste after China banned most imports of plastic scrap.

Greenpeace is calling on companies like Nestlé, Unilever, Coca-Cola and Pepsi to show true leadership and deliver on all of the following actions:

  • Set ambitious and accountable targets to reduce single-use plastics
  • Act immediately to eliminate excessive and problematic plastic packaging
  • Prioritise investment in reuse and alternative delivery systems
  • Embrace transparency and report annually on their plastic footprint

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