Coca-Cola’s new campaign scrutinized for greenwashing

The logo, well known on a global level, is crushed, signifying the importance of waste to be recycled. So Coca Cola launches in Latin America - where the Coca-Cola System is very powerful - a new out-of-home campaign that celebrates the recycling of cans and bottles. And no, we can't help but talk about greenwashing

In the latest “Recycle Me” campaign, Coca-Cola presents a revamped logo that mimics a crushed can, an effort aimed at promoting recycling. Despite the initiative, critics are quick to label it a mere act of greenwashing. “They can do what they want, but when you look deep, the same lobbying interests and the same silent production dynamics remain,” they argue, pointing to the unchanged core practices of the company.

Logo transformation: a symbol or a smokescreen?

As part of its pledge to recycle all its packaging by 2030, Coca-Cola, through WPP Open X led by Ogilvy New York, has transformed its iconic script logo to inspire daily recycling habits. The logo, which now appears crumpled like a ready-to-recycle can, debuts in major Latin American cities—home to the drink’s production—including Buenos Aires, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. Critics, however, ask what truly lies behind this aesthetic change:

“Inspiring, sure, but what’s behind that white script on a red background that crumples?”

The environmental cost of plastic

Despite these recycling efforts, Coca-Cola remains the world’s leading producer of plastic waste, generating approximately 3 million tons (about 6.6 billion pounds) of plastic bottles annually—amounting to about 200,000 bottles per minute or 100 billion a year. This massive production underscores the ongoing environmental pollution issue associated with plastic waste.

Water use controversy

Not limited to plastic, Coca-Cola’s environmental impact extends to significant water usage. A 2017 report highlighted how companies like Coca-Cola, along with Pepsi and Danone, are depleting water resources in countries such as Mexico through special water extraction concessions and minimal taxation. According to the report, which involved collaboration from 101 humanitarian organizations, Coca-Cola pays only 2,600 pesos for each of its 46 water extraction concessions per year—a stark contrast to its earnings of 32.5 billion pesos in 2007 alone.

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