Climate activists are up in arms over Coca-Cola sponsorship deal

By our News Team | 2022

The brand is to sponsor the COP27 climate-change conference in Egypt in November. But environmentalists say it’s a sham.

Coca-Cola recently agreed a deal to sponsor this year’s United Nations Climate Conference – known as Cop27 – due to take place in Africa at the Sharm el-Sheikh coastal resort in Egypt during November.

But rather than being a marketing coup for the global brand, it may turn out to be a nightmare as environmental activists cry “greenwashing” and emphasise all of the company’s failings when it comes to plastic pollution and high water usage, among other things.


Photo courtesy of Greenpeace

“Coca-Cola sponsoring the Cop27 is pure ‘greenwash’. Coca-Cola is one of the world’s biggest users of plastic,” said Emma Priestland, a coordinator for Break Free From Plastic, a global alliance of concerned organisations and individuals.

“Over four years, we’ve found Cola-Cola to be the world’s top plastic polluter in our annual brand audits,” she said. “It’s astounding that a company so tied to the fossil fuel industry is allowed to sponsor such a vital climate meeting.”

Greenpeace says ‘it’s baffling’

Greenpeace agrees. John Hocevar, Oceans Campaign Director at Greenpeace USA, noted: “It is baffling that Coca-Cola – the world’s biggest plastic polluter in all global Break Free From Plastic brand audits – will sponsor this year’s UNFCCC Conference of Parties in Egypt.

“Coca-Cola produces 120-billion throwaway plastic bottles a year – and 99% of plastics are made from fossil fuels, worsening both the plastic and climate crisis,” he said.

“They have yet to even acknowledge that this is a problem or explain how they will meet their climate goals without ending their plastic addiction. This partnership undermines the very objective of the event it seeks to sponsor.”

In its own statement, Coca-Cola said it shared the goal of eliminating waste from the ocean and appreciated efforts to raise awareness about this challenge. 

“We are prepared to do our part and have set ambitious goals for our business, starting with helping to collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one [that] we sell – regardless of where it comes from – by 2030,” the company stated.