findings plastics promises

Main findings:

  • Companies often fail to meet their own pledges, but they usually don’t mention this openly. Instead, they silently drop the goal or shift its scope or target year. For instance, back in 2008 Danone promised that 50% of the plastics used in the company's water bottles would be made from recycled materials in one year's time. The target year has continuously shifted, it's currently set for 2025. 
  • 37 of the companies' pledges that we identified should have already been delivered on by 2022, but 68% of them either clearly failed or were never reported on again.
  • Just 19 of the 98 pledges we found offered pledges to reduce the amount of plastic used in packaging or the amount of virgin plastics. Other commitments focus on using more recyclable plastics – but that does not guarantee that the plastic will actually be recycled.
  • Companies' voluntary commitments can be a conscious tactic designed to delay and distract from legislation in the field, but risk facilitating greenwashing.
  • The European Union’s plans to implement more thorough plastics legislation in the coming years are likely part of the reason for the rapid increase in plastics commitments by companies in the last few years. 
Available translations
Tuesday 30 August 2022
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