Transparency initiative by the top brands

Coca-Cola and 30 other international companies are launching campaigns. For the first time they have revealed how much plastic they produce each year. The figures are alarmingly high.

Because of the enormous amounts of plastic waste that they produce virtually every second, the major food producers in particular are increasingly being pilloried. The pressure to disclose the actual figures is constantly growingand has already led some groups to rethink their approach. For example, 31 companies responded to the request by the American Ellen MacArthur Foundation and provided information about their plastic production. The finding of the report – these companies produced around eight million tonnes of plastic waste in 2017.

The front runner is Coca Cola. The world’s largest beverage manufacturer produced an incredible 108 billion plastic bottles in 2017. This corresponds to 200,000 units per minute and a total weight of three million tonnes of plastic packaging – almost as much as the three food groups Nestlé (1.7 million tonnes), Danone (750,000 tonnes) and Unilever (610,000 tonnes) together. Against this the 200,000 tonnes reported by the fashion group Burberry, for example, seem almost negligible.

However, these figures are only the tip of the iceberg, as some of the potentially largest plastic waste producers have not published their figures at all. These include PepsiCo. Based on the market shares of Coca-Cola’s main competitor, PepsiCo is likely to fall short of the market leader’s top position, but will still rank ahead of Nestlé, Danone, Unilever and Co. The aim of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation is to successively persuade more and more major companies to disclose their plastic production. They are also to be induced to take appropriate measures to reduce their plastic footprints. According to the non-governmental organisation, politicians and industry have a duty not only to talk about such measures, but also to finally assume a proactive role.