As we went to press, we learned that Pepsi unveiled a new PET bottle made entirely of plant materials- besting Coke’s version which has a 30-percent plant makeup. In doing so, Pepsi has made sustainable packaging the latest battle in the 100-year-old “cola wars” between the two beverage giants.
It’s indicative of a shift we saw this past year among the major CPG companies: They’re waking up to sustainability and making environmental commitments like never before.
Of course, green activists will say there’s a disconnect between companies simultaneously purveying consumption and sustainability. But, the truth is that, when companies of this size apply their hefty budgets to the problem, they can make good progress.
That’s likely one reason why 2010 saw a hard core brand like Seventh Generation, which used to boycott Walmart, announce it would begin selling there. By taking advantage of the mega retailer’s size, the brand figured it could reach people and places and fulfill its environmental mission on a scale it never could before.
We’re recognizing the environmental efforts of brands both big and small in this issue, our annual look at sustainable packaging design. And, now, we begin our search for next year’s crop of all-stars. Though, we don’t expect that we’ll have to look too hard. Because, while there are all kinds of reasons for a brand to turn out more sustainable packaging (cost savings, altruism, etc.), with companies like P&G and Unilever unveiling major corporate-level initiatives this past year, and the Coke-Pepsi plant-bottle wars starting to bubble up, we’re thinking a little competition will heat things up on the sustainable packaging front.