On September 23, 2020, non-governmental organization European Environmental Bureau (EEB) announced the publication of a new report produced by the Changing Markets Foundation that investigates and criticizes the commitments made by some of the world’s largest consumer goods and food companies to address plastic pollution. Titled “Talking Trash,” the report discusses existing recycling infrastructure worldwide, provides a timeline of packaging commitments made by international companies such as Coca-Cola, Mars, Nestlé, and Proctor and Gamble, and tracks whether or not set targets were actually achieved.
“Our analysis shows that companies have widely differing levels of commitment, ranging from near zero (Perfetti Van Melle and Mondelēz International) to more impressive-sounding commitments (Unilever, Danone and Coca-Cola),” EEB writes. “Companies also consistently fail to meet their own commitments. Coca-Cola, for example, has left behind a 30-year trail of broken promises, ranging from missed targets on recycled content to failed commitments on recovery and the introduction of bio-based plastic. This starkly illustrates that, regardless of how ambitious voluntary commitments sound, most companies regard them as just paper promises, easily ignored after they have generated favorable headlines.” EEB further accuses many of the companies’ commitments as being part of strategies to ‘distract’ and ‘delay’ any new regulations that would enforce stricter producer responsibility or limit production and use of plastics.
Changing Markets Foundation (September 2020). “Talking Trash: The corporate playbook of false solutions to the plastic crisis.” (pdf)
Nusa Urbancic (September 24, 2020). “Talking trash: How the plastics industry fails to walk the talk on pollution.” EEB