Nestlé, stop single use:’ Activists confront company executives at Annual General Meeting in Switzerland about plastic pollution

"It's time for Nestlé to really take some responsibility for the magnitude of its contribution to the problem."

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Image Credit: REUTERS

Greenpeace International is holding Nestlé accountable for not doing enough to address single-use plastic and the pollution its caused. Activists interrupted Nestlé’s Annual General Meeting in Switzerland on Wednesday exposing corporate pollution and its lack of transparency.

Holding banners and signs that read, “Nestlé, stop single use” and “Nestlé, this is yours,” in front of the shareholder audience, Greenpeace activists are calling on the company to invest in alternative packaging immediately.

“It’s time for Nestlé to really take some responsibility for the magnitude of its contribution to the problem,” Jennifer Morgan, international executive director of Greenpeace, said. “It is simply not acceptable for a company to produce hundreds of billions of plastic items every year that are used for a few seconds and then left to poison our communities, food chains and ecosystems for generations.”

While Nestlé announced it would “make 100 percent of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025,” the company’s production of plastic packaging increased 13 percent last year, Reuters reported. Nestlé used 1.7 million tons of plastic packaging just last year and is one of the world’s largest producers of single-use plastic packaging – along with Coca-Cola and PepsiCo – a Greenpeace report detailed last year after analyzing 187,000 pieces of trash found in 42 countries.

“We know where plastic ends up: we can see that with our own eyes,” Morgan said. “Now millions of people around the world are realizing where lots of it originates – from Nestlé.”

Nestlé executives agree with the need to reduce single-use plastic, but also cited the “importance of biodegradable packaging and recycling,” Reuters reported.

“But we need to make sure the new packaging solutions are safe and that consumers accept them,” Duncan Pollard, head of sustainability at Nestlé, said.

The company said it is looking at different options such as the use of compostable and biodegradable materials as a solution to plastic. Nestlé is also considering a new system of water dispensers, Reuters reported.

Greenpeace activists said they will continue to put pressure on Nestlé and force them to accept their role in the plastic pollution crisis.

“So the question is clear: will Nestlé rise to real leadership or will you dig in to protect an outdated, destructive business model that has negative consequences for all of us?,” Morgan said. “Greenpeace will continue to pressure you to take your part of the responsibility for the comprehensive systems change required, to invest in innovation and lead the way towards a more just and sustainable future.”

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