Five Big Brands Join Together for CSR Initiative


While the June 5 announcement that Coca-Cola, Ford, Heinz, Nike and Procter & Gamble are partnering to develop and use plant-based PET plastics in their products might be motivated more by economics than eco-friendliness, on the surface it looks like a good corporate social responsibility move, and part of a larger sustainability trend. "This partnership highlights the growing trend of bringing the principles of sustainability together with new product development, via collaboration," says Susan Nickbarg, principal, SVN Marketing, a marketing and CSR/sustainability consultancy.

As the price of crude oil rises, companies are looking to cut back on petroleum-based products, including bottles, apparel, footwear, automotive fabrics and carpets. While PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is durable and lightweight, it is still petroleum-based. The five companies are looking to develop PET plastics that are 100% plant-based, which don’t require the use of crude oil. Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle initiative currently uses packaging material derived from sugar cane, notes the Los Angeles Times.

While the initiative could save on manufacturing costs, the announcement does serve up a good environmental vibe. From that point of view, the timing for Coca-Cola is good considering New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal last week to ban the sale of big sugary drinks from the five boroughs. Which might beg the question from skeptics: Was this partnership announcement a good PR response to Bloomberg, or just a coincidence?

Follow Scott Van Camp: @svancamp01

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About Scott Van Camp

Scott Van Camp is editor of PR News, an executive-level, reader-supported publication that helps enhance the business impact of PR. Scott has a rich background in both journalism and PR/marketing. He has more than 15 years of experience as a writer/editor at various consumer and trade publications. Scott was with VNU Business Publications for five years, including stints as managing editor at IQ News and Technology Marketing magazines and senior editor at Brandweek. In the PR/marketing sphere, he has served as corporate communications manager at MarketBridge, a marketing and sales consultancy, and as editorial director for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. While at the Council, Scott led several high-profile marketing research projects. He has also operated his own communications and media consulting firm, SVC Communications.

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