According the newly published 2019 Brand Audit Report, Coca Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, and Unilever ranked as the top regional polluters in Africa. Green Africa Youth Organization and the Let’s Do It Ghana team were among over 200 organisations around the world that organized over 480 brand audits. In total, the 2019 brand audits were conducted by over 72,000 volunteers across 6 continents in 51 countries. The report revealed Coca-Cola, Nestlé and PepsiCo as top plastic polluters for the second year in a row. The list of top polluters by geographical region are:

Africa: Coca Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Unilever

Asia: Nestle, Coca Cola, PepsiCo

Europe: Coca Cola, PepsiCo, Heineken

North America: Nestle, Solo Cup Company (Dart Container Corporation), Starbucks    

Oceania / Australia: Woolsworth Group

South America: PepsiCo, Coca Cola, Ferrero Group

2019 Brand Audit by GAYO, Lets Do It Ghana and partners in Accra.

The “Top Regional Polluter” is defined the same way as “Top Global Polluter”: These results are ranked primarily according to widespread distribution – in other words, by the number of countries in each continent where brand audits reported finding these companies. Our priority metric was to examine these companies’ presence across the highest number of countries per continent, to be consistent with last year’s methodology. We also factored in the total number of branded items recorded that were produced by these companies as a secondary metric. Together, these “Top Regional Polluters” emerged, reflecting both depth and breadth. To put it simply, these results reveal the companies polluting the most places in each continent with the most plastics.

Key Messages

  • Multinational corporations like Coca-Cola, Nestlé & Pepsico need to take responsibility for the plastic pollution crisis they have created by reducing their pollution footprints and start investing in refill and reuse as the only way toward a sustainable future.
  • The top polluting brands Coca-Cola, Nestlé & Pepsico, along with the others, need to immediately (1) reveal how much single-use plastic they produce, (2) set annual targets for reducing their single-use plastic footprint, (3) make significant investment towards refillable and reusable alternatives. 
  • Coca-Cola which has ranked #1 in the Brand Audit report for the second year in a row needs to show true leadership to tackle the plastic pollution crisis by reducing its plastic footprint and investing in systems of refill or reuse. If the company continues to double-down on it’s single-use approach, it will become increasingly irrelevant.
  • Nestlé which has moved up from third to second top polluter in this year’s ranking needs to focus its efforts towards clear plans to reduce the total amount of single-use plastic it puts into the world instead of committing to making all of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025. Focusing on these type of false solutions will do nothing to prevent Nestlé from being named a top polluter in future years.
  • Corporations are pushing false solutions like recycling or switching to other throwaway materials like paper and bioplastic to justify their addiction to single-use packaging. These alternatives will continue to harm the environment and people have had enough. Corporations must reduce their pollution footprints and start investing in refill and reuse as the only way to address the plastic pollution crisis.
  • The Break Free From Plastic movement demands that corporations act to reveal their global plastic footprint, reduce the amount of plastic they produce and reinvent their packaging to be reusable.

Read the full report and help spread the word to #Breakfreefromplastic and ensure a #plasticfreeworld.