CCEP: The Oceans Can't Wait | Oceana

CCEP: The Oceans Can’t Wait


Dear Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Board of Directors, Executives, Employees, and Shareholders, 

Today, May 22, 2024, is your annual meeting. On this occasion, we call on your company to stop delaying and commit to scaling up reusable packaging in place of single-use plastic. The oceans are being devastated by plastic pollution while you delay.  

Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) is globally, the largest seller and bottler of products owned by The Coca-Cola Company — the world’s worst plastic polluter, according to recent reports. You just reported selling —  in 2023  — the equivalent of 37 billion 500 ml bottles1 of Coca-Cola products in Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Bulgaria, Australia, New Zealand, and Indonesia. Coca-Cola has reported that nearly half of everything it sells is packaged in single-use plastic. That’s a lot of throwaway plastic.   

Two years ago, the Coca-Cola Company made a commitment to increase reusable packaging to 25% of total sales by 2030 and yet you refuse to follow suit. Why? Instead, you keep on talking about recycling while the plastic pollution crisis facing our oceans continues to get worse.  

Reusable packaging is far more effective at reducing plastic pollution than recycling. A reusable bottle can be used up to 50 times and a reusable cup over 100 times. Each use prevents the need for a single-use container that would otherwise have been thrown away or littered, with either pathway possibly leading to the ocean. The Coca-Cola Company reported that in 2022, 93% of its refillable bottles were collected for reuse compared to only 58% of its single-use plastic bottles collected for recycling. The company also stated that refillable bottles can have the lowest carbon footprint of any packaging type. Reuse is clearly the winning strategy for our oceans and planet.  

We estimate that if the Coca-Cola Company meets its commitment by 2030, it could eliminate the cumulative equivalent of over 100 billion 500 ml single-use plastic bottles and cups and up to 14.7 billion of these plastic containers could be prevented from entering our waterways and seas.2 

How is any of this possible if you, the largest bottler of Coca-Cola products in the world, won’t commit to increasing reuse? You know how to do this. In Germany, you sell a huge number of beverages in reusable packaging, and you just acquired Coca-Cola Philippines, where roughly half of Coca-Cola products are sold in refillable glass bottles.  

Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, please stop delaying. Make a commitment now to scale up reusable packaging and help save the oceans. They can’t wait. 

  1. See – page 83. Note, we used the reported case volume for 2023, multiplied it the case litre equivalent and then again by 2 to get the 500 ml number.   ↩︎
  2. Oceana’s estimate was based on a comparison of the total amount of single-use plastic bottles sold in forecasted scenarios where The Coca-Cola Company maintains 14% reusable packaging as reported in 2022 for all years until 2030; and where its reusable packaging increases to 25% by 2030. The calculation of the total amount of single-use plastic bottles sold from 2023 to 2030 was made using forecasted case volume sales to 2030 following the compound annual growth rate calculated for the past ten years of the Coca-Cola Company’s reported case volume sales, compound annual growth of the share of reusable packaging to 25% by 2030, and assuming that Coca-Cola’s non-refillable packaging mix as reported for 2022 is maintained for all years until 2030. The estimate of the amount of these containers that will enter waterways and seas was calculated applying estimated rates of plastic pollution emissions to aquatic systems forecasted from 2023 to 2030 by Borrelle et al. (2020) Predicted growth in plastic waste exceeds efforts to mitigate plastic pollution. Science 369(6510), 1515-1518.  ↩︎