Industry giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo ditching pro-plastics lobbying association
by Perry Wheeler
July 23, 2019
Washington, DC – As pressure mounts for companies to transition away from single-use plastics, industry giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have informed Greenpeace USA that they plan to end their memberships with the Plastics Industry Association, which has advocated against plastic bans nationwide. Earlier this year, Greenpeace highlighted the role that the plastics industry and front groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have played in pushing preemption bills meant to “ban plastic bans” and undermine statewide progress on plastic pollution.
“Companies understand that they cannot publicly say they want to end plastic pollution, while financially supporting an association that lobbies for our continued reliance on throwaway plastics,” said Greenpeace USA Oceans Campaign Director John Hocevar. “This is a victory for every person that spoke up and asked Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to put their money where their mouths are and tell the Plastics Industry Association to stop preventing plastic reduction efforts.”
Greenpeace, alongside investors and organizations like Walden Asset Management, As You Sow, Sierra Club, and The Last Beach Cleanup, have urged companies like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola to reject the Plastics Industry Association’s secretive lobbying against plastic bans. The association uses a front group, the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA), and works side by side with ALEC to push state legislators to prohibit plastic bans across the country. Thus far, 15 states with a combined total of 88 million people have passed these pro-pollution preemption laws.
“Local communities should have the right to protect and preserve their environment without corporations interfering,” said Jan Dell, an independent engineer and founder of The Last Beach Cleanup. “It is time for companies that claim to care about reducing plastic pollution to take a stand and reject the Plastic Industry Association’s lobbying to block local plastic bag and container ordinances.”
While the Plastics Industry Association hides most of its membership, SC Johnson was also identified as a member as of 2018. SC Johnson has publicly stated that it supports plastic straw bans despite the APBA’s continued lobbying against local plastic pollution ordinances. Walmart was identified as a member of the association in a recent exposé from The Intercept, despite the company announcing several tepid plastic packaging initiatives earlier this year. Greenpeace urges SC Johnson and Walmart to publicly demand that the Plastics Industry Association stop its repressive lobbying, or leave the association.
“As we’ve seen with companies ditching ALEC over the last few years, when companies start standing up for their values, these front groups lose significant power over local lobbying efforts,” Hocevar said. “The Plastics Industry Association is desperate as governments and companies continue to realize that the tide has turned on throwaway plastics.”
Greenpeace is campaigning for companies to reduce and eventually eliminate single-use plastics. Though both PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have indicated a desire to reduce their plastic footprint, neither has put forth a comprehensive reduction strategy.
Contact: Perry Wheeler, Greenpeace Senior Communications Specialist, P: 301-675-8766