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11 August 2022

Hello, and welcome to the news and tools delivery from EDJNet.

We return from summer break to present a new investigation about the broken plastics promises of European food and drink companies. The story comes with a database that Deutsche Welle, along with other EDJNet's partners, put together to produce it and have made accessible for all on GitHub.

We found that these companies are actually not doing much to reduce their impact, at least for now: about two-thirds of their promises to go greener on plastics failed or have been abandoned.

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European food companies break their plastics promises

Deutsche Welle and the European Data Journalism Network researched some of Europe's biggest food and drink companies to find out if they follow through on promises to clean up their act. We identified 98 plastics commitments from 24 food and drink companies headquartered in Europe that were made during the past 20 years. Here's what we found: 

  • More than half of these pledges were only made in the last few years, with most offering the stated aim of 2025.
  • In the case of at least 37 pledges that should have already been delivered on, 68% of them either clearly failed or were never reported on again. When companies fail to meet their pledges, they usually don’t mention this openly. Instead, they silently drop the goal or shift its scope or target year.
  • Just 19 of the 98 pledges offered to reduce the amount of plastic used in packaging or the amount of virgin plastics — and most of those won't be delivered on until the future. 16 of the 24 companies we found commitments from pledged to produce packaging with recyclable plastics.
  • In one-third of the documented pledges, companies committed to including more recycled plastics in their packaging.
Read the full article >

If you are in a hurry, Kira explains it all here in a short video >

All our articles can be freely republished or reused. Some are available in Croatian, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, and Romanian. Interested? Write to us!

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From our partners at the European Data News Hub


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Tools and Tips

Dataset: How European food companies break their plastics promises

With the support of Alternatives Economiques, EURACTIV, Interruptor, OBC Transeuropa, Openpolis and Pod crto, Deutsche Welle collected all the data used to carry out the investigation.

The data, along with methodology and code behind the investigation are freely accessible in this GitHub repository.

You are free to reuse and republish all the content available on EDJNet. If you’d like to know more, check our terms of use or contact us (

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