Reducing plastic use to protect the water supply

March 23, 2021
plastic bottles in ocean

On World Water Day, we celebrate this vital, life-giving resource that is a critical part of our lives. Yet pollution – namely from plastics – has a devastating effect on water sources. Studies show that the ocean contains approximately 150 million tons of plastic, with eight million tons added every year. Mercy Investment Services, as part of our focus on the Critical Concern for Earth, has joined fellow shareholders in engaging several companies on reducing and eliminating plastic packaging, with positive responses:

  • Coca-Cola and Nestle joined the U.S. Plastics Pact, committing, by 2025, to: 1) define a list of problematic or unnecessary packaging and take measures to eliminate them; 2) ensure all plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable, or compostable; 3) take actions to effectively recycle or compost 50% of plastic packaging; and 4) achieve 30 percent average recycled content or responsibly sourced bio-based content in plastic packaging.

  • Globally, 88 percent of Coca-Cola’s packaging is recyclable, and 16 markets offer beverages packaged in 100% recycled PET plastic.

  • In its 2019 CSR report, PepsiCo reported that 88% of its packaging is recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable (goal is for 100% by 2025). PepsiCo set a new goal to reduce virgin plastic packaging by 35% by 2025.

  • P&G, with a goal to make all its packaging 100% recyclable or reusable by 2030, introduced: 1) Tide’s new Eco-Box, which uses 60% less plastic than the traditional bottle; and 2) Old Spice and Secret brands’ all-paper packaging, containing 90% post-consumer recycled fiber/paper content, for their aluminum-free deodorants in the U.S.

In its ongoing engagements with these companies, Mercy Investment Services will monitor progress toward these goals and continue to push companies to further reduce their plastic packaging and transition to a circular use model.