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1. PlantBottle Packaging Can Be Used as an Effective Marketing Tool.

While the environmental and long-term cost benefits of PlantBottle Technology have been clear since day one, after time the team realised its potential to build emotional connections with consumers. Today’s consumers expect quality beverages to be delivered in the most efficient way possible with a key focus on sustainability, minimising resources and increasing the use of recycled and renewable materials.

PlantBottle packaging answers that expectation and has proven to be a top differentiator for many of the company’s brands, particularly its water portfolio, led by Dasani in the United States. PlantBottle packaging has been distributed in a variety of packaging sizes across water, sparkling, juice and tea beverage brands—from Coca-Cola to Dasani to Gold Peak.

“Consumers aren’t the only ones interested in this sustainability innovation,” said Knutzen. “Our customers who sell our beverages also seek products that provide a competitive advantage through differentiation. It’s an offering they want on their shelves.”

2. Achieving Cost Parity (or Better) is an End Goal, Not Immediately Attainable.

Today, PlantBottle packaging comes at a premium, which is not passed onto the consumer. Coca-Cola views this premium as a long-term investment as the plant-based material supply chain develops. The Company continues to explore new bio-based technologies that minimise price volatility, reduce costs, and increase
Coca-Cola system adoption. 

“We’re seeing a lot of variance in pricing because the price of petroleum is so volatile,” said Knutzen. “Over the long term, we believe the cost of plant-based material will be more stable than the cost of petroleum. That’s why we’re building our supply chain to efficiently use materials made from plants in our packaging. We’re absorbing the additional costs as an investment in a more sustainable future. The end goal is to enable technology and paths that allow us to reach cost parity or better.”

3. Collaboration with External Partners is Critical... and Continues to Grow.

Working together with environmental organisations, researchers, and other companies, Coca-Cola has been careful to identify current and future plant sources that truly deliver improved sustainability performance and do not compete with food crops.

With longtime conservation partner World Wildlife Fund, Coca-Cola has supported the creation of guiding principles for sourcing agricultural feedstocks, and is a founding member of the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance, which aims to increase awareness around the environmental and social performance of potential feedstock sources for bio-based plastics.

Coca-Cola continues to engage technological partners Ford, Nike and P&G through the PET Plant Technology Collaborative (PTC) to establish and develop new promising paths for making renewable materials. This strategic working group is focused on accelerating the development and use of 100 percent plant-based PET plastic.

“As we work to advance PlantBottle, we recognise there will be many more lessons learned and we look forward to sharing those as well,” said Knutzen. “Sustainability is a journey and we’re prepared to adapt and adjust as dictated by consumers, innovation, and our overall world. We must always be seeking to improve and excel, for business and for our planet.”