Published 4 years ago.
About a 4 minute read.
Image: Hans Braxmeier/Pixabay
As more and more companies are transitioning away from single-use plastics and actively seeking more sustainable alternatives, The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo have announced their exit from the Plastics Industry Association.
The food and beverage giants announced their decision earlier this week,
from Greenpeace to the same effect.
“Companies understand that they cannot publicly say they want to end plastic
pollution, while financially supporting an association that lobbies for our
continued reliance on throwaway plastics,” said Greenpeace USA Oceans Campaign
Director John Hocevar. “This is a victory for every person that spoke up and
asked Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to put their money where their mouths are, and tell
the Plastics Industry Association to stop preventing plastic reduction efforts.”
Greenpeace is actively campaigning for companies to
— along with investors and organizations including Walden Asset Management,
As You Sow, Sierra Club and The Last Beach Cleanup, the NGO has
urged companies including PepsiCo and Coca-Cola to reject the PIA and its
lobbying against plastic bans. Greenpeace has called out the Association for
using a front group, called the American Progressive Bag Alliance
(APBA), and working with the American Legislative Exchange
Council (ALEC) — a controversial, conservative public policy lobbying
group known for its opposition to environmental regulations (which saw its own
mass exodus of
a few years back, after pressure from various stakeholder groups) — to push
state legislators to prohibit plastic
across the country. So far, 15
have passed these preemption laws.
Of the company’s exit from the group, a Coca-Cola spokeswoman
“We withdrew earlier this year as a result of positions the organization was
taking that were not fully consistent with our commitments and goals.” A PepsiCo
spokeswoman said its PIA membership would end at the close of this year: “We do
not participate in the policy advocacy work of the association or its
subsidiaries, and our membership will conclude at the end of this year,” she
The PIA has come under fire from environmentalists for lobbying to prevent
plastic-bag bans in the US. Its APBA arm argues on its
website that conventional plastic has the least
environmental impact compared with other bags, requiring 70 percent less energy
and 96 percent less water to make than paper bags. The Association said that
Coca-Cola’s and PepsiCo’s departures are the result of pressure from Greenpeace.
“This is unfortunate — consumer brands are integral to making sustainability
commitments into realities, by working with their suppliers to make lasting
change,” a PIA spokeswoman said.
“Local communities should have the right to protect and preserve their
environment without corporations interfering,” said Jan Dell, founder of The
Last Beach Cleanup. “It is time for companies that claim to care about reducing
plastic pollution to take a stand and reject the Plastic Industry Association’s
lobbying to block local plastic bag and container ordinances.”
While Greenpeace has called out both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo as being some of the
biggest contributors to global plastic pollution, both companies have set
plastic-reduction goals — one of Coca-Cola’s is to create packaging made of at
least 50 percent recycled material by 2030; while PepsiCo is aiming for 25
percent by 2025 — and both are actively developing other solutions for reducing
single-plastic use and waste:
Coca-Cola recently partnered with Ioniqa
to apply the company’s pioneering recycling technology to breaking down
hard-to-recycle PET waste into high-quality, food-grade material; while
PepsiCo has joined forces with
L’Oréal, Nestlé Waters, Suntory Beverage & Food Europe and Carbios
to scale use of the world’s first enzymatic plastic-recycling
PepsiCo recently developed a bottle-less, mobile-enabled hydration
that responds to the rise in consumer preference for water and low- and
no-sugar drinks, as well as on concern about plastic’s effects on the
are working to bolster recycling efforts and infrastructure around the
It’s been a busy week for companies standing up against the powers that be, to
use their power to help influence
that directly affect not only the wellbeing of business, but of society.
Yesterday, Ford, BMW, Honda and VW announced they’d reached a
landmark agreement with
on a new set of emissions standards that can serve as an alternative path
forward for clean vehicle standards nationwide.
Published Jul 26, 2019 2pm EDT / 11am PDT / 7pm BST / 8pm CEST