This year from November 6 to November 18, the 27th Annual Conference of the Parties on Climate Change of the United Nations (COP27) will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. It is expected that this conference will discuss practical actions that will help reduce carbon emissions and address climate change adaptation, aiming at saving lives.
Late last month the Egyptian Foreign Ministry announced that Coca-Cola Company; the American beverage company would be a sponsor of COP27. Michael Goltzman, Global Vice President of Public Policy and Sustainability at The Coca-Cola Company said “COP27 gives us the opportunity to continue engaging with experts, non-profit organizations, industry, and governments to support actions towards sustainable change across our value chain” and Egyptian organizers defended Coca-Cola’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and its focus on global warming. But this did not prevent the outrage from spreading immediately on social networks. Since 2019, Coca-Cola itself admitted that it produced 3 million tons of plastic per year, more or less 200,000 bottles per minute. Break Free From Plastic, a non-profit organization claimed that the company was the largest plastic polluter in the world and that there are currently more discarded Coca-Cola bottles than any other brand.
Activists criticize that over the years, the Climate Summit is becoming more like a greenwashing fair with large corporations, start-ups, and industry groups setting up booths and hosting talks on how they want to participate in the global movement that is climate change but they only do it to improve their business opportunities. And how do we argue that it is not true or believe about the future actions companies will take to reduce carbon emissions presented in COP27 if the sponsor of this year is Coca-Cola Company? Especially when Coca-Cola is the world’s worst plastic polluter for the fourth year in a row in 2021, according to the global coalition Break Free From Plastic’s annual report.
However, Coca-Cola is not the only company trying to greenwash its image and trying to make you believe that they are environmentally friendly, other companies like Shell; a British multinational oil and gas company is trying to do the same. Early this month Shell signed a long-term partnership with British Cycling that will run until the end of 2030 and will help “accelerate British Cycling’s path to net zero,” according to a press release from the governing body.
Environmental groups and activists have condemned this partnership as an attempt by Shell to greenwash its activities. The idea of Shell helping British Cycling reach net zero is absurd since cycling is the ultimate representation of environmentally friendly travel. Between 2010 and 2018, Shell was reported to have dedicated just 1% of its long-term investments to sources of low-carbon energy like wind and solar. Also, Shell is particularly guilty for the contamination of Niger Delta; the company has publicly reported 1,010 oil leaks since 2011, amounting to 17.5m liters of oil spilled into the region. And partnering with British Cycling is just a move to make us forget or try to hide their true intentions.
Companies like Coca-Cola and Shell want to trick us into thinking they are doing their most environmentally friendly effort by supporting/sponsoring events and activities against climate change when they are doing so much harm to the environment and will continue to do so. We need to make these companies accountable for their harmful activities to the planet and ask then to make greener changes.