The number one sparkling water brand in the world has won a legal battle started by some of the top beverage producers in the world. On Thursday, SodaStream International announced that they won a lawsuit filed by Coca-Cola European Partners Belgium, Danone, Nestlé and Spadel against SodaStream’s anti-plastic ecological marketing campaigns.
This is the second time the four beverage producers filed a lawsuit against SodaStream’s advertising campaigns “Shame or Glory,” “No Planet. No Christmas” and “Don’t be a homoschlepien.” Considering the fact that all three advertising campaigns discuss plastic pollution and how plastic bottles contribute to this issue, it’s no surprise that these bottled beverage producers are angry. According to the lawsuit filed in Belguim’s Brussels Court of Appeal, the marketing campaigns are “humiliating for consumers of plastic’ and should be banned with a penalty of €50,000 per day of publication.
However, the court decided to favor SodaStream’s message, which says that plastic disposable bottles assist in plastic pollution. The judge stated that SodaStream’s message is “essential and socially relevant information.” In addition, the judge claimed that these campaigns are not targeting bottled beverage producers; instead, they are focusing solely on the negative effect of PET bottles on the environment. This is why these videos are considered to be perfectly legal.
This lawsuit might be due to the fact that consumers are becoming more environmentally friendly and are willing to pay more for sustainable food products. This is why major companies are now putting more effort into sustainability initiatives. Last spring, Nestlé announced a new sustainability initiative in which the company plans on using 100 percent recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025. Kraft Heinz made a similar commitment last month when they announced that they make all their packaging 100 percent recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. Earlier this year, McDonald’s made the same commitment to having 100 percent sustainable packaging in the next seven years.
However, these sustainability commitments are also highlighting an underlying issue in the food industry. With plastic bottles being the most common kind of plastic pollution in the world, bottled beverage producers are now facing a lot of pressure from environmental organizations.
At the 2017 UN Ocean Conference, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that if nothing is done about this issue, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea. Europe has been actively working to address the plastic pollution problem. The European commision is currently working to make sure that all plastic packaging on the market will be recyclable by 2030.
With such initiatives on the rise, SodaStream is standing out in the market as an environmentally friendly company. This might be why the company is using this status as leverage for their marketing campaigns.
Considering the fact that there is no “quick fix” to the issue of plastic pollution, food companies would be smart to invest in sustainable packaging and environmental initiatives.