Unilever’s senior vice president of sustainability Gavin Neath hit out at Coca Cola and other drinks manufacturers last week, when he issued a stern warning about increasing amounts of land being used for bio-fuels and bio-polymer products.

Talking to the Guardian, Neath said: “Just look at these new bio-polymers – new bottles from sugar that Coca Cola is producing. There are limits to this.

“We need to feed ourselves and let’s be really cautious about bio-fuels and bio-polymers. These need to be looked at really carefully.”

However a spokesperson from the Coca Cola Company told edie that Neath’s comments – which refer to its PlantBottle packaging – were factually incorrect.

According to Coca Cola, the company has worked with key stakeholders including government, academic institutions and NGOs to ensure responsible sourcing for its PlantBottle materials.

In a statement, it said: “The plant material used to make PlantBottle packaging was selected based on our guiding sustainability principles to ensure it does not compete with food crops and is capable of delivering improved environmental performance.

“Based on these principles, we’ve approved two sources for our packaging: Brazilian sugarcane and Indian molasses.

“We also continue to advance work on additional sustainable sources of plant material in order to meet our packaging needs and the needs of the industry.”

Maxine Perella

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