Mondelez and PepsiCo set new plastic pledges following non-profit discussions

Mondelez expects to deliver a 10

After engagement with As You Sow, both companies have committed to raising ambitions to cut the use of virgin plastics for packaging.

Mondelez has set a new reduction target for 2025, against a 2020 baseline, that will result in a 5% absolute reduction in virgin plastic used in packaging, including a 25% reduction in its rigid packaging. The company expects to deliver a 10,000-tonne reduction in plastic use as a result.

Last year, Mondelēz International, which owns brands including Cadbury and Dairy Milk, signed up to two major initiatives to tackle plastics waste in the UK and globally. The company joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment and has become a member of the UK Plastics Pact.

PepsiCo, on the other hand, has committed to setting a time-bound reduction target, but is still assessing the size of the cuts it will pledge to make. An announcement is expected later this year.

The target will build on a 35% reduction the company is currently targeting for 2025 for its beverage portfolio and will also include its snack and food divisions like Quaker Oats.

“We are pleased to announce agreement by two of the companies we filed proposals with to cut their use of virgin plastic used for packaging,” As You Sow’s senior vice president Conrad MacKerron said.

“We look forward to other companies stepping forward to make similar commitments, and making bolder, larger absolute cuts in overall plastic packaging.”

As You Sow filed shareholder proposals with 10 leading consumer goods companies and retailers, calling for commitments to absolute cuts in the use of plastic packaging. 

Last year, As You Sow unveiled the results of a survey of 50 of the largest consumer-facing goods firms, including PepsiCo, Kraft Heinz and Kellogg, which found that companies are generally failing to take ambitious action on plastic pollution, despite lofty pledges to do so.

The study analysed the plastics pledges and actions of the businesses across six key areas: product design; reusable packaging; recycled content; packaging data transparency; supporting recycling and producer responsibility.

In total, 15 firms scored an overall ‘F’ grade, including Papa John’s, Domino’s Pizza, Tyson Foods and Whole Foods. A further 22 firms scored a ‘D’ grade overall, including Kraft Heinz, Kimberly-Clark, Kellogg, PepsiCo, Heineken, Mondelez International, Burger King and Yum! Brands, which owns KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. 

As You Sow concluded that it is imperative for these companies to increase ambition and action now, to prevent virgin plastic production from increasing sharply through to 2050. Research by WWF last year concluded that the amount of plastics produced, littered and incinerated globally is set to rise “dramatically” by 2030, despite recent action by businesses.

Join the conversation with edie’s Circular Economy Inspiration Sessions

On 25 March, as part of its special Circular Economy Week of online content and events, edie is hosting three live, interactive webinar presentations and discussions – all dedicated to accelerating the transition to a zero-waste economy. 

Called the Circular Economy Inspiration Sessions, the three events, range from Q&A style debates with circular economy experts, business-led panel discussions and a masterclass. Experts from organisations including the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and The Body Shop are taking part. 

For full details and to register, click here. 

Matt Mace

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