Coca-Cola says its PlantBottle is made from crops that don't compete with food production, responding to Unilever's claim that biopolymers compete for land that could be used to help to feed the world

LOS ANGELES , April 2, 2012 () –

Agriculture that feeds the world is not at risk from the crops used to make biopolymers for packaging like Coca-Cola Co.’s PlantBottle, according to a statement from Coca-Cola, reported the Environmental Data Interactive Exchange (Edie) on April 2.

The Atlanta-based beverage maker’s statement was issued in response to claims made by a Unilever NV executive, who last week warned that increasing amounts of land are being used for biopolymer products.

Gavin Neath, Unilever’s senior VP of sustainability, said that biopolymers “need to be looked at really carefully” because land is needed to feed the world; and he mentioned PlantBottle as an example of beverage packaging using biopolymers, according to a March 30 blog on the Guardian.co.uk.

If all polyethylene and polyethylene terephthalate bottles were to use biopolymer materials, the production of sugarcane would have to double in Brazil, said Jason Clay of WWF, the Guardian blog noted.

Neath’s comments were factually wrong, a Coca-Cola spokesperson told Edie.

Coca-Cola has worked with governments, non-government organizations, and academic institutions to make sure that its PlantBottle materials are sourced responsibly, according to the company, Edie.net reported.

PlantBottle’s plant material, which is sourced from Brazilian sugar cane and Indian molasses, “does not compete with food crops and is capable of delivering improved environmental performance,” according to Coca-Cola’s statement.

Coca-Cola also said it continues to look for other sustainable sources of plant material for its packaging, reported Edie.net.

The primary sources of this article are the Environmental Data Interactive Exchange at Edie.net, Surrey, England, on April 2, 2012, and the Guardian, London, England, on March 30, 2012.

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