The patrons of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo promised Davos that "enormous progress" would be made "by 2030" to reduce plastics-related wastes.
The enemy brothers of the soda, James Quincey and Ramon Laguarta, rarely seen side by side, participated in a workshop on "transforming the plastic economy", a recurring theme this week at the World Economic Forum.
Coca and Pepsi are part of an "Alliance to end plastic waste" whose creation was announced in mid-January by some thirty multinationals.
"We can reduce the amount of plastic in the system, both in our beverage and food sectors", assured the CEO of PepsiCo Ramon Laguarta.
"I am rather optimistic, by 2030, we will not have completely solved the problem, but we have made tremendous progress," he added, in response to a question about the possibility of resolving this issue within ten years.
Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey made the same commitment, pointing out that in some countries, such as Mexico or South Africa, the share of recycled bottles had already risen from 10% to 70%.
But no question for these industrialists to drastically reduce their use of plastic, as advocated by some environmental advocates.
"We have to recover the plastic bottles, to recycle them and create a circular economy," pleaded Mr. Quincey, who also tables on "innovation" to create more environmentally friendly materials.
"Glass or plastic bottles, aluminium cans, soda machines (…) We need to provide the consumer with a wider choice of containers, "he added, assuring that a plastic bottle had a carbon footprint lower than a glass or aluminum container.
Consumer pressures, tightening of legislation… the sector is doomed to evolve, acknowledged both bosses.
Some 80% of plastics end up in the oceans, between 8 and 12 million tonnes each year, according to the UN, which estimates that if the trend continues, there will be more plastic than fish in the Ocean by 2050.
In particular, the European Union intends to prohibit single-use plastic products from 2021, which alone account for 70% of the waste stranded in the oceans and on the beaches.
"When you think it's a good thing and you have to do it, you might as well get on the train," the CEO of Coca-Cola concluded.