Leading U.S. Environmental Groups Call on COP to Kick Out Coke

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November 2, 2022 – Today the U.S. environmental groups Just-Zero and Beyond Plastics called on the United Nations Climate Change Conference to kick Coke out as a sponsor of COP27. The United Nation’s annual climate conference, known as COP, will be held from November 6 to November 18 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. This is the 27th United Nations climate conference, but the first time Coca Cola, one of the world’s top plastic polluters, is a corporate sponsor.

“The fact that Coca-Cola is a benefactor of the world’s largest climate conference makes it hard to see this meeting as anything more than a performative act,” says Peter Blair, State Policy Director at Just Zero. “By pouring millions of dollars into sponsoring Cop27, Coca-Cola is making a shameful play to give the appearance of environmental responsibility. But behind the scenes, Coca-Cola’s lobbyists campaign to block improvements in real recycling and resist calls to transition away from single-use plastic bottles to reusable and refillable glass containers.” 

Plastic is intrinsically tied to our climate crisis – starting the moment oil and gas giants drill into the ground to collect fossil fuels for plastic production. For decades, Coca-Cola has been making voluntary environmental “commitments” to the public regarding reducing waste and increasing recycling. However, none of these commitments have ever been met. Meanwhile, lobbyists funded by American Beverage and other Coca-Cola affiliates have testified vociferously against expanding or instituting new bottle and can return programs. If the company really wanted to be part of the solution to the plastic and climate crises, they wouldn’t work to actively block meaningful environmental legislation.

“Cop27 is supposed to focus on solutions for fighting catastrophic climate crisis,” says Judith Enck, President of Beyond Plastics and former Regional EPA Administrator under President Obama. “Instead, we’re allowing it to be a stage for corporate greenwashing. Plastics is the new coal. How can a major plastic polluter be in a leadership position at such an important climate conference? It’s well past time that our country’s policy makers and advocates commit to holding corporations accountable for the impact their products and policies have on our climate and environment.”

The purpose of the upcoming climate summit is to convene leading politicians, delegates, and activists from around the world to discuss progress toward achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and update previous commitments. Allowing one of the leading plastic polluters to sponsor the conference undermines the very objectives of the event. If the United Nations is serious about solving our climate crisis, they should cut all ties with corporate polluters. No climate event should ever be sponsored by the very companies wreaking havoc on our environment.

About Just Zero

Launched in 2022, Just Zero is a national environmental non-profit advocacy organization that works alongside communities, policy makers, scientists, educators, organizers, and others to implement just and equitable solutions to climate-damaging and toxic production, consumption, and waste disposal practices. Just Zero’s goal is to help create a world that relies on community-first zero waste systems with zero climate-damaging emissions and zero toxic exposures.

About Beyond Plastics

Launched in 2019, Beyond Plastics is a nationwide project that pairs the wisdom and experience of environmental policy experts with the energy and creativity of grassroots advocates to build a vibrant and effective movement to end plastic pollution. Using deep policy and advocacy expertise, Beyond Plastics is building a well-informed, effective movement seeking to achieve the institutional, economic, and societal changes needed to save our planet and ourselves, from the negative health, climate, and environmental impacts for the production, usage, and disposal of plastics.


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