Pepsi and Coca-Cola CEOs address plastic waste, but are they doing enough?

Plastic bottles from beverage giants Pepsi and Coca-Cola top the list of Greenpeace’s global audit of most commonly found plastic waste items. Coca-Cola alone made 110 billion plastic bottles in 2016 which is roughly 14 bottles for every person living on the planet. In an effort to respond to mounting pressure to better their practices, this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland  PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta and Coca-Cola CEO James Quinceshared a stage to discuss how they’re planning on tackling the problem of plastic waste. While ideas like recycling, recovering and increasing biodegradable options were floated, none of the solutions seemed to propose a bold outline to tackle the urgent problem of global plastic pollution. 

As CNBC reported Pepsi is aiming for all of its packaging to be recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025. Most recently, Pepsi has been testing compostable bags for chips in Chile, India and the U.S. Meanwhile Coca-Cola is working toward recovering and recycling the equivalent of 75 percent of the bottles it introduces in developed countries by 2020. Last month, the Atlanta-based company announced two investments in recycling technologies that will allow Coke to use recycled plastics for its bottles more efficiently. Quincey said they need to think beyond just the recycling and also address every option’s carbon footprint. According to him, producing glass bottles (which Coca-Cola says have increased in popularity) has a higher carbon footprint because glass is heavier than plastic, however, glass doesn’t float, create microplastics, and wreak havoc on the environment the same way that plastic does.

Why This Matters: It’s estimated that taxpayers pay more than 90% of the cost of recycling while beverage companies and the makers of plastics assume little responsibility for their products once they’re sold. There are growing voices that wish for companies who sell their products in plastic containers to take ownership of those containers for their entire lifecycle and to support recycling infrastructure around the world. However in order to achieve this, we must pass legislation that supports this level of accountability, it likely can’t be left up to corporations to achieve it on their own–case in point, the much-criticized industry coalition, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste whose members are actually planning on increasing the production of new plastics.

Up Next

One Cool Thing: A Big Week for Corporate Sustainability as Starbucks, Taco Bell Step Up

One Cool Thing: A Big Week for Corporate Sustainability as Starbucks, Taco Bell Step Up

After the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock announced that climate change and sustainability are now its core principles, one more corporate giant is stepping up its climate commitments. Starbucks announced today that it wants to become “resource-positive”: Storing more carbon than it emits, eliminating waste, and providing more clean freshwater than it uses in coffee-growing […]

Continue Reading 124 words
Volkswagen Will Lead BEV Market By 2030

Volkswagen Will Lead BEV Market By 2030

A new analysis by energy industry experts predicts that Volkswagen will produce 14 million electric vehicles by 2028 and will leap from 10th place to the largest producer of BEVs, grabbing more than a quarter of all sales globally. 

Why This Matters:  Making the switch globally to BEVs is one of the key ways to drive down CO2 emissions in the next 10 years.

Continue Reading 408 words
Blackrock Announces Climate Change/Sustainability Are Now Its Core Principles For Investing

Blackrock Announces Climate Change/Sustainability Are Now Its Core Principles For Investing

In a stunning and groundbreaking turnaround, the CEO of the world’s largest asset manager with $7T under its control, BlackRock, announced that from now on the company will make its investment decisions with environmental sustainability as a core goal and will take climate change into account.

Why This Matters:  This is HUGE.  BlackRock is the single largest investor in fossil fuels in the world.  And they are getting out of that business.  

Continue Reading 620 words