2.1 Tactics in the corporate playbook


Coca-Cola produces by far the largest volume of plastic of any company globally – 2.9 million metric tonnes – and also, unsurprisingly the most plastic waste.


Most plastic polluting company


2.9m tonnes Annual plastic footprint

It churns out plastic at an alarming rate of 200,000 bottles per minute, equalling around one-fifth of the world’s PET-bottle output.1Laville, S. (2019) Coca-Cola admits it produces 3m tonnes of plastic packaging a year. The Guardian, 14 March (ONLINE) Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/mar/14/coca-cola-admits-it-produces-3m-tonnes-of-plastic-packaging-a-year

Since the 1990s, Coca-Cola has published a slew of commitments aimed at reducing plastic waste, collecting packaging and increasing the share of recycled content in its products. However, our analysing reveals a shocking trail of broken promises by Coca-Cola, where they fail their commitments, use unclear wording, creative accounting or infrequent reporting to hide the lack of progress towards their stated goals.

Coca-Cola has also been implicated in lobbying heavily against deposit return systems in Scotland and the USA. Our investigation reveals that, despite their consequent U-turn, they are still up to their old tricks in Kenya and China. From initiatives that we have investigated Coca-Cola is a member of or otherwise committed to nine initiatives to solve plastic waste and at the same time a member of at least seven trade groups that lobbied against deposit return schemes and other legislation to regulate single use plastic.

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