Despite Promises, First Available Data Shows Cpg Companies Failing to Reduce Plastics Use

Analysis of many leading signatory shows companies are now using more plastic than the 2018 baseline, and are using it at a higher rate per unit of sales.


New York, NY -- (ReleaseWire) -- 12/04/2020 --Analysis by Business360 shows that leading CPG companies are increasing their use of plastic, and using more per unit of sales.

This finding is based mainly on data recently published by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) along with the UN Environment Program (UNEP). Data can be accessed in the latest New Plastics Economy Global Commitment Progress report, with supporting detail on the progress of individual business signatories.

This data provides the first opportunity to assess how well signatory companies are doing in their effort to reduce plastic use. As EMF says, "After a quantitative baseline was set by the first report in 2019, this 2020 report provides the first insight into the trajectory of progress against that baseline."

Business360 analysis shows that many leading signatory companies are now using more plastic than the 2018 baseline, and are using it at a higher rate per unit of sales. For 13 large CPG companies that provided data for 2018 and 2019:

- Just 4 claim to have reduced overall plastic usage (Colgate, Danone, L'Occitane and Nestlé)

- Three companies claim, somewhat surprisingly, to have used exactly the same amount of plastic in both 2018 and 2019 (McCormick, PepsiCo and Unilever)

- The remaining five companies all used more plastic in 2019 than the 2018 baseline (Barilla, Coca-Cola, Henkel, L'Oréal, Mars and SC Johnson)

A closer look at Home and Personal Care (HPC)

Four companies centered on HPC (Colgate, Henkel, SC Johnson and Unilever) provided 2018 and 2019 data, allowing a comparison across broadly similar businesses:

- Overall, these four companies increased plastic usage by 132 tonnes combined

- Both SC Johnson (+9,700 tonnes) and Henkel (+2,000 tonnes) increased plastic usage

- Unilever reported exactly the same each year

- Colgate decreased plastic usage by 11,568 tonnes

HPC companies using plastic less efficiently

A key aim of plastic abatement strategies is to enable companies to use plastic more efficiently. Business360's plastic intensity index shows how much plastic each company uses for each unit of $ sales. This metric shows:

- Only Colgate improved its plastic index (by 5%)

- Henkel, SC Johnson and Unilever used plastic less efficiently in 2019

- Overall, for these four companies, plastic use increased nearly 3% faster than sales

Contact us for further details and analysis, including a review of corporate strategies and specific plastic abatement actions taken by brands at each company.

Analysis based on published Ellen MacArthur Foundation plastic usage data for 2018 and 2019 and prepared a comparison that shows how signatories are performing. Some Ellen MacArthur Foundation data holes were filled with plastic usage data published in corporate CSR and sustainability reports, accepting these may have been prepared under different definitions.

Business360, INC.
Business360 is a New York-based research and analysis company that for over 20 years has been providing competitive intelligence and strategy advice to leading CPG companies.

About Ellen MacArthur Foundation and its Global Commitments Report
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is a UK registered charity which aims to inspire a generation to re-think, re-design and build a positive future through the framework of a circular economy. It has gathered together the world's most comprehensive dataset for assessing corporate progress on plastic abatement.

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