Oceana calls on The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) to commit to targets following unprecedented pledge to grow share of refillable or multi-use bottles
Beverage giant says it will prioritize refillable bottles to address plastics and climate crisis – but fails to set clear objectives
Press Release Date: November 10, 2021
Location: Washington, DC
Oceana called on The Coca-Cola Company to produce annual reports and set clear targets for the increased use of refillable or multi-use bottles after the company announced last week that its World Without Waste “priorities include expanding refillables to eliminate waste and lower Coca-Cola’s total carbon footprint one package at a time.” Oceana has been campaigning for the increase of refillable bottles by Coca-Cola and the soft drink industry since 2020 when it released a report that found a 10% increase in the use of refillable bottles worldwide could prevent as many as 7 billion plastic PET bottles from polluting the oceans.
“This is potentially big news for the oceans,” said Matt Littlejohn, Senior Vice President of Oceana. “Last week, the world’s largest soft drink company and most prominent single-use plastic polluter reported that it is making multi-use or refillable bottles a priority after decades of allowing refillables to decline worldwide and to effectively disappear in many markets. Coca-Cola is already selling billions of refillable bottles around the world and can quickly and dramatically increase the share of refillables (and ensure that billions of single-use plastic bottles do not pollute the seas).”
Coca-Cola announced that “reusable bottles – which represented 27% of sales in Latin America in 2020 and were the system’s fastest-growing packaging format in 2018 and 2019 – are used 25 times on average, supporting a circular economy while reducing waste and carbon emissions.” Refillable bottles are multi-use bottles that beverage companies sell with deposits, collect post-use, wash, refill, and sell again.
Coca-Cola, in the Break Free from Plastic Brand Audit 2021, was the number one corporate plastic polluter for the fourth year in a row. Until recently, the company did not prioritize refillable bottles as a sustainable solution and has continued to allow refillable bottles to be phased out in countries with large plastic pollution problems, as reported in a recent BBC documentary about the company’s decision to end the use of refillable bottles in Samoa.
“Coca-Cola has made it clear – more refillables mean less plastic in the ocean and fewer carbon emissions. Now, the company urgently needs to, as it has with its recycling and carbon commitments, step up and commit to annual reporting and measurable targets for increasing refillable bottles everywhere it can. Refillables, despite recent success, continue to decline worldwide – meaning more single-use plastic bottles made from fossil fuels are being produced and sold every year, polluting the oceans,” added Littlejohn.
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Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one-third of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 225 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that 1 billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit www.oceana.org to learn more.