In May 2019, we joined the Rubbish Campaign, calling on Coca-Cola, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever to take responsibility for their plastic waste in poorer countries. We want to take a moment to say a massive thank you to everyone who has played their part so far, from signing petitions to reducing single-use plastic to praying and marching for systemic change.
In just over a year, we’ve seen waste mountains begin to move. The companies have begun to respond.
Our partners at Tearfund UK have scored each company based on their progress so far, with the results published in a league table here. In summary:
- UNILEVER has committed to reduce the amount of virgin plastic in its products by 50% between 2018-2025, and to reduce total plastic by a sixth. It has also made a commitment to collect at least as much plastic as it sells in each market by 2025 and disclose its global plastic footprint annually.
- NESTLÉ has no clear public commitments to reduce its overall use of plastic, but has committed to reduce virgin plastic by a third by 2025 and to invest 2 billion Swiss Francs in moving from virgin plastics to food-grade recycled plastic. It has committed to collect as much plastic as it sells in 12 countries, but at the time of writing the names of those countries are not publicly available. Nestlé has, however, committed to disclose their global plastic footprint annually.
- COCA-COLA has committed to collect and recycle the equivalent of one bottle for every bottle sold by 2030 (on a country-by-country basis). However, it is off-track on this collection commitment and has made no public commitments to reduce its overall or virgin use of plastic. Coca-Cola has, however, committed to disclose their global plastic footprint annually.
- PEPSICO has made a commitment to reduce the use of virgin plastic in its bottles by 20% between 2018-2025. However, it has made no commitment on the collection of its products and no public commitments to reduce its overall use of plastic. PepsiCo has, however, committed to disclose their global plastic footprint annually.
Initial steps have been made, but there’s still further to go. In the race to tackle plastic pollution, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are trailing behind. Let’s continue to hold all these companies to account to rectify this rubbish situation by sending an email to Coca-Cola and PepsiCo telling them to take action to reduce their plastic waste.