AFRICA – Independent global campaigning network, Greenpeace has slammed Coca-Cola’s COP27 sponsorship, terming the beverage corporation the world’s biggest plastic polluter.

Coca-Cola has faced a backlash from Green activists for its sponsoring the upcoming 27th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) to held in Egypt.

Greenpeace USA oceans campaign Director, John Hocevar, said: “It is baffling that Coca-Cola – the world’s biggest plastic polluter in all global Break Free From Plastic brand audits, including Kenya and Uganda – will sponsor this year’s UNFCCC Conference of Parties in Egypt.”

According to him, Coca-Cola produces 120 billion throwaway plastic bottles a year – and 99% of plastics are made from fossil fuels, worsening both the plastic and climate crisis.

“It has yet to even acknowledge that this is a problem or explain how it will meet its climate goals without ending its plastic addiction. This partnership undermines the very objective of the event it seeks to sponsor,” Hocevar added.

A COP26 delegate also launched a petition to remove Coca-Cola as the sponsor. At the time of writing, the petition had 5,993 out of 7,500 signatures.

The petition explained that Coca-Cola spends “millions of dollars greenwashing its brand, making us believe that it is solving the problem”.

 “But, behind the scenes, they have a long history of lobbying to delay and derail regulations that would prevent pollution, keeping us addicted to disposable plastic,”  the petition added.

Meanwhile, Break Free From Plastic’s coordinator, Emma Priestland, also called Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of COP27 “pure greenwash” and that it is “astounding” that a company linked to the fossil fuel industry has been allowed to come on board as a sponsor for such a crucial climate meeting, The Guardian said.

COP27 announced the sponsorship was announced on 28 September and the company said previously that through the partnership, it aims to continue exploring opportunities to build climate resilience across its business, supply chain and communities while engaging with other private sector actors, NGOs, and governments to support collective action against climate change.

“We know that global challenges such as plastic waste, water stewardship and climate change are far too great for any single government, company, or industry to solve individually,” said Michael Goltzman, global VP of public policy and sustainability at The Coca-Cola Company.

He added that COP27 gives the company an opportunity to continue engaging with experts, nonprofits, industry, and governments to support actions toward sustainable change across our value chain.

Coca-Cola currently has ambitions to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and reduce its absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030.

At the same time, the company said it met its 2020 goal to cut its carbon footprint by 25% by the end of that year, against a 2010 baseline.

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