Climate activists disrupt business leaders at Net Zero Festival

Plastic Rebellion activists disrupted a circular economy panel at Net Zero festival, featuring speakers from Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, Tetra Pak and WRAP.

Before the panel began, Plastic Rebellion activist poured two cans of Coca-Cola onto his head and said: “this is what Coca-Cola is doing to the world.”

“Net zero is greenwashing, especially when you have the extraordinary waste output of Coca-Cola,” he continued.

The protestor added that the event is “enabling Coca-Cola” to continue its behaviour and “greenwash” by “pretending they have a real transition to net zero.”

The protestor suggested that the event should change its spotlight and said the drink company’s behaviour is “something we should have a conversation about.”

“Coca-Cola is comfortable with a business model selling huge amounts of plastic, increasing virgin plastic production,” the protester said.

Before getting any further, the protester received reaction from the audience, including “shut him up” and “get him off the stage.”

BusinessGreen editor James Murray allowed the protestor to continue speaking and added that there will be a “wide range of views” throughout Net Zero Festival.

Coca-Cola Europacific Partners head of climate and sustainability Sam Jones made references to the protestor but did not respond directly.

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Net Zero Festival needs to ‘change the narrative’

Richard from Extinction Rebellion spoke with Sustainability Beat about the organisation’s motivation behind setting up a stand outside of the event.

Extinction Rebellion outside Net Zero Festival

“Events like this need to change the narrative and spotlight companies that are coming here and actually doing good,” added Richard.

“Why is Net Zero Festival being sponsored by companies such as Coca-Cola and PR agencies such as dentsu who work with fossil fuel companies?”

Richard added that net zero in itself is greenwashing.

“Sponsors of the event have committed to net zero but are giving themselves a licence to continue polluting on the promise they’ll plant more trees.

“But there’s not enough room to plant trees to offset their dirty behaviour. More needs to be done.”

Instead, Richard argued that there needs to be a move of ‘absolute zero’ which doesn’t involve offsetting.

“Companies also need to think about ‘degrowth’ and producing less things,” Richard added.

“Produce less to stop over consumption.”

Dirty scrubbers

Three Extinction Rebellion protesters attended the event later on in the day, saying they were with Coca-Cola to clean up their “dirty secrets”.

The protesters handed out business cards to exhibitors before quickly being escorted out by security.

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