Nestlé, the creator of KitKat, is one of the world’s largest producers of plastic trash and they are getting a lot of backlash from it.
Not only do they produce a lot of waste that’ll far outlive you or I, but they are notorious for ‘greenwashing.’ This is a practice in which a company gives off the false impression that they are more environmentally friendly than they really are.
In addition, they are known for having incredibly low ethical standards and taking little social responsibility for how they source their chocolate and produce goods.
That all being said, while their latest marketing stunt might be awesome and it might mean they are leaning towards a more environmentally-friendly approach to candy-coated treats, let’s all take it with a grain of salt.
Nestlé Japan is getting a lot of ‘crunch’ over their decision to replace the famous glossy plastic wrappers in exchange for more sustainable and environmentally-friendly paper packaging.
To make the deal even sweeter, they include origami instructions on the inside of each package. That way, you can create paper origami instead of simply throwing out your wrapper.
In addition, Nestlé announced their plan to make 100 percent of their packaging recyclable or reusable by the year 2025.
This comes at a time when the world’s biggest food company is under extensive pressure from environmental groups.
“Nestlé has created a monster by producing endless quantities of throwaway plastics that persist in our environment for lifetimes,” said Greenpeace Plastics Campaigner Kate Melges.
The NGO is operating a campaign titled #PlasticMonster, which is on a mission to stop the production of single-use plastics.
According to the campaign: “Over 90% of the plastic ever produced has not been recycled, yet companies are set to dramatically increase the production of plastic packaging over the next decade.”
“People living along rivers and coastlines in Southeast Asia and in other communities around the world are among the most impacted by plastic pollution. Even though excessive production of single-use plastic for packaging is the real cause, these communities are often blamed for this crisis.”
“Companies like Nestlé are the ones actually responsible for the plastic monster that is destroying our planet. But they also have the power to slay this monster by reducing the amount of single-use plastic produced.”
According to Nestlé’s estimates, their new initiative will reduce the brand’s plastic waste by around 380 tones per year. It sounds like a lot, but many people argue it’s not nearly enough.
According to Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner Graham Forbes, it’s just another set of “greenwashing baby steps to tackle a crisis it helped to create.”
“It will not actually move the needle toward the reduction of single-use plastics in a meaningful way, and sets an incredibly low standard as the largest food and beverage company in the world,” Forbes adds.
“The statement is full of ambiguous or nonexistent targets, relies on ‘ambitions’ to do better, and puts the responsibility on consumers rather than the company to clean up its own plastic pollution.”
“Identified as one of the worst plastic polluters in cleanups and brand audits around the world, Nestle is accountable to do more to address the problem. It is in the position and has the power and resources to phase out single-use plastics towards zero-waste in its packaging.”
So, while making an origami out of your KitKat wrapper sounds cool, and the paper might be better for the environment than plastic, it’s arguably not enough from a company with Nestlé’s power and resources.
For instance, if only they could start using fair trade chocolate instead of chocolate that literally derives out of child slave labor.
We can hope for the best with their latest pledge to clean up their act, but it doesn’t look that promising after considering their lack of follow through with previous sustainability promises.