Coca-Cola, Danone and Nestlé to face investigation over greenwashing

Coca-Cola, Danone and Nestlé Waters are set to face an investigation by the European Commission and the network of consumer protection authorities (CPC) over greenwashing claims.

The BEUC, ClientEarth and Environmental Coalition on Standards (ECOS) filed a complaint stating that claims such as ‘100% recyclable’ are “too vague, inaccurate or/and insufficiently substantiated.”

For example, the complaint argues that a ‘100% recyclable’ claim is an “ambiguous term” as recycling rate for PET beverage bottle bodies is estimated to be only 55% in the EU and the chance of it becoming a bottle again around 30%.

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The complaint also covers the use of green imagery such as closed loops.

BEUC deputy director general Ursula Pachl said: “displaying nature images and green visuals that insinuate that plastic is environmentally friendly is misleading consumers.”

“Such claims however can be found on many water bottles sold across Europe,” Pachl added.

“The problem is that there’s no guarantee it will be fully recycled once it’s in the bin. This greenwashing must stop.

“The EU is taking much welcomed steps with how to help clean up the market from deceiving green claims.

“However, it will take years before new regulatory measures will apply and there is no time to waste, so we expect authorities to take action quickly,” Pachl concluded.

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

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

Circular economyMaterials and packagingNewsPolicy

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