Oceana Calls on Coca-Cola Europacific Partners to Safeguard and Grow Reuse in Advance of Proposed Acquisition of Coca-Cola Philippines

Nearly 50% of everything Coca-Cola sells is in reusable packaging in the Philippines. Oceana calls on CCEP to commit to reuse to protect the oceans from single-use plastic pollution.

WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 06, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Oceana, the largest international advocacy organization focused solely on ocean conservation, formally requested that Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) commit to increase, and not decrease, the share of refillable bottles sold in the Philippines in light of the company’s proposed acquisition of Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines with Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. (AEV). In a letter to the companies’ leaders, Oceana expressed concern for CCEP’s lack of a specific commitment and goal for growing the share of products it sells in reusable containers.

“We believe this commitment is critical for protecting the health of the oceans,” wrote Oceana’s Senior Vice President Matt Littlejohn and Oceana’s Vice President in the Philippines Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos in the letter. “This is especially important for the Philippines as the archipelagic nature of the country makes it particularly vulnerable to marine pollution, affecting both its rich biodiversity and its population relying on these waters for sustenance.”

In the letter, Oceana calls for:

  • CCEP to commit to increase the sale and use of refillable bottles in the Philippines.
  • CCEP to leverage the knowledge and capability gained from the Philippines to increase the sale and use of refillables in Indonesia, where CCEP is also the main distributor of Coca-Cola products.
  • CCEP to pledge to increase its share of refillables by at least 10 percentage points in line with the Coca-Cola Company’s recent pledge to reach 25% reusable packaging by 2030 (up from a 14% share today).

Refillable bottles get reused as many as 25-50 times, depending on what material they are made of (plastic or glass). This means that each refillable bottle has the potential to replace 24-49 single-use plastic bottles.

The Philippines is currently one of the largest markets for refillable bottles on the planet. Refillable bottles currently account for nearly 50% of all Coca-Cola products sold in the Philippines, but only 15% of CCEP’s packaging units in Europe were returnable and refillable in 2022. The company has not committed to increase its share of refillable packaging globally or in key ocean countries, like Indonesia which was acquired by CCEP in 2020.

Single-use plastics cause immense harm to marine life and the broader ecosystem. An estimated 33 billion pounds of plastic enter the ocean every year and, if nothing changes, the amount of plastic entering the ocean is projected to triple by 2040. A report by Oceana found that increasing refillables by 10 percentage points in all coastal countries in place of single-use plastic could keep as many as 7.6 billion plastic bottles out of the ocean every year.

“We genuinely hope CCEP will further reduce its plastic dependence and transition to reusable packaging. Please know that we stand ready to both commend progress and rally concerned stakeholders for this cause,” Littlejohn and Ramos added.

The full letter is available here.

Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one-quarter of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 275 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, oil and plastic pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles, whales, and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that 1 billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit Oceana.org to learn more.

Contact: Anna Baxter, abaxter@oceana.org