Soda Environmental Policy Question 4

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Has the brand (company) reduced the weight of its packaging and does the brand have targets to further reduce this?

  • Dutch version: Heeft het merk (bedrijf) het gewicht van zijn verpakkingen verminderd en heeft het duidelijke doelstellingen om dit verder te verkleinen?
  • German version: Hat der Markenhersteller das Gewicht der Produktverpackungen bereits verringert? Werden Zielsetzungen kommuniziert, um das Gewicht noch weiter zu verringern?

References and Guidelines

This question is related to EU Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste 2004/12/EC. Article 8 encourages Member States to set up recovery, return and collection systems, meant to guarantee maximum collection and return of packaging and packaging waste. Several studies like this indicate that packaging is a major contributor to the carbon emission and related environmental impact within the life cycle of soda. Light weight packaging has a lower carbon footprint compared to heavy weight packaging of the same material 1. The question is also related to aspects EN26 and EN27 of the GRI Sustainability Reporting Guidelines & Food Processing Sector Supplement. For this question, best practices are shown by PepsiCo (brand owner of Pepsi and 7up) that has reduced its packaging by 103 million pounds and plans to reduce it by 350 million pounds by this year.

Ideally, brands should communicate numbers of the packaging weight per liter. Spadel shows a best practice by communicating these numbers, which have reduced from 56,6 grams in 1971 to 31,6 grams in 2010 (a reduction of 44%). However, these numbers only account to Spa Reine bottles (which contain mineral water), not soda. Coca Cola also communicates its packaging weight per liter, and shows that this packaging weight has increased from 46,3 grams in 2006 to 51,9 grams in 2008, data from 2009 and 2010 is yet unavailable. Also, it is unclear whether these numbers only apply to PET bottles, or also to aluminium cans and glass bottles.

As long as brands do not communicate specific and recent numbers on the packaging weight per liter specifically for soda, we will not specifically ask for these numbers. When brands start to do this, we will change this question in the future.

Answering Guidelines

Answer Yes:
• [Brand] has reduced the weight of its packaging by [amount] and has a target to reduce this by [amount] by [year/timeframe] (see link/page…).

Answer No:
• [Brand] explicitly says not to […].

Answer ?:
• Although [Brand] has [reduced the weight of its packaging/a target to reduce the weight of its packaging], it does not communicate information about [the reduction already achieved to date/ targets to increase this…].
• [Brand] does not communicate any information about weight reduction goals/initiatives/actions for its packaging, if there is any, on its website. Sustainability information should be easily accessible for consumers to make responsible choices.