NEW YORK: Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Company, Nike, H.J. Heinz Company, and Procter & Gamble have partnered to create entirely plant-based plastic materials with the goal of improving sustainability.
The collaboration, which is led by Coca-Cola, is focused on developing PET, a lightweight plastic also known as polyethylene terephthalate with 100% plant-based materials.
“A very basic message here is teamwork produces results,” said Scott Vitters, GM of PlantBottle packaging at Coca-Cola.Coca-Cola is “in the leadership role because it has been active with the ‘PlantBottle,'” which is made partially from plant products, said Edward Sawicki, associate director of global business development at P&G.
“We recognize that many companies are looking at the same thing, so instead of all going in separate and independent directions, we want to accelerate the development of the technology by putting together like-minded companies with good R&D resources to see if we can move at a faster and more effective pace,” he explained.
Since launching in 2009, the PlantBottle program has developed more than 10 billion bottles for 20 countries. By 2020, Coca-Cola's goal is having 100% of its PET plastic bottles containing first-generation PlantBottle packaging material, which is partially made from plants, said Vitters.
Sawicki added that P&G examines the substances it puts in its products, as well as its packaging materials. By 2020, the CPG giant's corporate goal is to replace 25% of its petroleum-based materials with substances from sustainable sources. P&G's long-term vision is to make sure all of its products come from 100% renewable or recycled materials, said Elizabeth Ratchford, external relations manager at the company.
The five companies will have periodic meetings throughout the year and calls in between to make sure they are talking on a “frequent basis” about their sustainability efforts, said Sawicki.
To get the word out about the initiative, Ratchford said all of the companies will promote it on their social media platforms and corporate websites, as well as with their employees. She added that it's important for the group to share the news with potential suppliers and developmental partners.
Vitters said additional companies that are involved in bio-plastics may be given the opportunity to join the initiative in the future.
“At the end of the day, it makes sense for our business, but it also makes sense for the planet,” he added.