Talking Trash: the corporate playbook of false solutions to the plastic crisis

This report investigates industry tactics in the face of an unprecedented plastic pollution crisis and growing public pressure to address it. Based on research and investigations in over 15 countries across five continents, it reveals how – behind the veil of nice-sounding initiatives and commitments – the industry has obstructed and undermined proven legislative solutions for decades. We have critically analysed voluntary commitments from the biggest plastic polluters (Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Mars Incorporated, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Perfetti van Melle and Unilever), dissected the most prominent group initiatives (some of them championed by governments and NGOs) and revealed how companies across the plastic supply chain – from the oil industry to consumer brands and retailers – really act behind the scenes. Our case studies show that not only have voluntary initiatives failed to contain the plastics crisis, but also that companies have used these initiatives as a tactic to delay and derail progressive legislation – all while distracting consumers and governments with empty promises and false solutions.

Fishing for Catastrophe: the dark secret behind farmed seafood

Based on findings from undercover investigations in Vietnam, India and The Gambia, this report presents damning evidence that the production of fishmeal and fish oil (FMFO) for use in the growing global aquaculture industry is destroying fish stocks, marine ecosystems and traditional livelihoods as well as undermining the food security of vulnerable communities. Our findings  reveal that demand for FMFO is fuelling overfishing, exacerbating other pressures on wild fish stocks such as climate change, and that the species being taken to produce FMFO are often food grade fish Through in-depth supply chain research we trace the tainted supply of FMFO from fishery to farm to fork, implicating some of Europe’s biggest retailers, as well as the world’s largest aquafeed producers.

With over 50% of the seafood we consume coming from aquaculture, a figure predicted to rise to 60% by 2030, the pressure on wild fish stocks to feed farmed species is growing. Against this backdrop, the report analyses the risks that irresponsible sourcing of feed raises for companies throughout aquaculture supply chains. It finds that the sector’s continued dependence on wild fish for use in aquafeed represents a systemic threat for companies, with FMFO and aquafeed producers being particularly vulnerable. Through their increasing reliance on farmed seafood fed using FMFO, other sectors – such as seafood processing and retail – are also exposed to these risks, which include disruption of supply, rising costs of raw materials and reputational damage.

Kellogg’s: stop breaking nutritional promises in Mexico

Kellogg’s advertises to kids with colorful cartoons and cute animal mascots. To parents, Kellogg’s promises something serious: a nutritious start to kids’ days. But in Mexico, parents and children are just getting empty promises and empty sugar.

A recent report from Changing Markets found that Kellogg’s quietly slashed nutritional content in some of its most popular Mexican cereals, even as 1.6 million children suffer from malnutrition.

Kellogg’s has made commitments to helping fight malnutrition across the world, even saying it would fortify its cereals to meet the “specific needs” of local markets. But this new report shows that it has in fact been taking out some of the key nutrients in its cereals in Mexico. That’s why we’re coming together to demand Kellogg’s live up to its breakfast promise.

Tell Kellogg’s to take children’s health seriously and fortify its Mexican cereals based on local needs:

Kellogg’s: pon la salud de los niños por encima de las ganancia

Kellogg’s hace publicidad dirigida a los niños con dibujos animados coloridos y lindas mascotas de animales. Para los padres de familia, Kellogg’s promete algo más serio: un comienzo nutritivo cada día para sus hijos. Sin embargo, familias mexicanas sólo están recibiendo promesas vacías y calorías vacías.

Un reporte reciente de Changing Markets descubrió que el contenido nutricional de Kellogg’s fue silenciosamente reducido en algunos de sus cereales mexicanos más populares, incluso cuando 1,6 millones de niños sufren de malnutrición.

Kellogg’s se ha comprometido a ayudar a combatir la malnutrición en todo el mundo e incluso ha dicho que fortalecería sus cereales para satisfacer las “necesidades específicas” de los mercados locales. Sin embargo, este nuevo reporte muestra queha estado extrayendo algunos de los nutrientes claves de sus cereales en México. Es por esto que nos unimos para exigir que Kellogg’s cumpla con su promesa de proporcionar desayunos nutritivos.

Dile a Kellogg’s que tome en serio la salud de los niños y fortifique sus cereales en México según las necesidades locales:

Testing US carpet for toxics

Our investigation tested 12 samples from six major carpet manufacturers in the United States, and found substances of concern in almost all of the samples. In half of the carpets tested PFAS were detected, which have been associated with cancer, hormone disruption, obesity, developmental disorders, and other adverse health effects. Five carpets were found to contain phthalates, a type of plasticizer often used in PVC carpet backing. Phthalate exposure has been linked to hormone disruption and adverse developmental effects in children, including reproductive and neurobehavioral impacts. It’s time for companies to produce safer carpets and move to a toxic-free circular economy.

Testing for toxics

Our investigation tested carpets from seven major European manufacturers, and found chemicals in all but three samples. Among the chemicals found was the phthalate DEHP, which was banned in 2015 but is still permitted in products using recycled PVC. Such loopholes in EU law can expose vulnerable groups, such as babies and young children, to toxic chemicals. It doesn’t have to be like this: three toxic-free carpets show that it is possible to produce and recycle carpets without creating health risks. It’s time for companies to scale up these solutions and move to a toxic-free circular economy.

Antimicrobial Resistance

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is one of the greatest threats to public health today. If we don’t act, it’s estimated that by 2050 AMR will kill 10 million people a year – that’s more than cancer and diabetes combined.

One frequently overlooked cause of AMR is environmental pollution from raw materials used to make antibiotics at the very beginning of the supply chain.

Most of the world’s antibiotics factories are in India and China. These factories are contributing to the problem by not treating their waste properly, creating superbugs which spread quickly around the globe, undermining modern medicine.

These polluting factories supply pharmaceuticals to healthcare providers in the European Union. The EU needs to stop turning a blind eye to pharmaceutical pollution; if we don’t act now, the superbugs will win.

Dirty Fashion

H&M and Zara have been linked to devastating pollution in Asia. The clothes many Europeans love to buy and wear are made with viscose from factories that dump untreated, toxic waste directly into the environment. These factories are poisoning air, water and people.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Cleaner production techniques already exist and brands need to ask producers to clean up their act.

It is time for citizens across Europe to demand change. Sign the petition

Did you know most carpets are made from oil, used once, then buried or burned?

Currently, most carpets end up in landfills, which is problematic as synthetic fibres, such as nylon and polyester, can take centuries to biodegrade, leach toxic chemicals, and emit methane gas. Much of your company’s carpet waste also gets incinerated. Your industry calls burning carpet “transformation” which is an example of greenwashing, since incinerating carpet releases high levels of greenhouse gases and pollutants that are not regulated or monitored. These polluting emissions can be lethal, causing cancer, heart attacks, strokes, asthma, and pulmonary disease. For this reason, The Story of Stuff started a petition against Shaw – the biggest carpet manufacturer in the world – to promote sustainability and a circular economy in the carpet industry. You can sign the petition here:

Acrylamide: EU Protect Our Food Safety!

Big corporations want to leave a dangerous substance, acrylamide, in everyday foods such as bread, breakfast cereals, coffee, crisps and even baby food.

European Health authorities say that it could damage our DNA and increase the risk of cancer. SumOfUs is asking Health Commissioner Andriukaitis to change this by setting legally binding limits for acrylamide in our food. You can sign the petition here:

Antibiotics pollution

Watch the video with German and French subtitles.

Today, India is one of the world’s leading suppliers of generic drugs. Its pharmaceutical industry was worth US$15 billion in 2014 and over half of its drugs is going to EU and U.S. markets. However, as demonstrated by our investigation, this exponential growth is coming at a high price that is often paid by local communities living in vicinity of dirty pharmaceutical manufacturing sites. These people, who are often poor and reliant on subsistence farming, are suffering the consequences of extreme contamination of waterways and agricultural lands. In addition, the effluent from dirty factory is also driving drug resistance in bacteria present in the environment and could contribute to one of the biggest health threats of the 21st century – the rise of antimicrobial resistance.

Lil’ Krill

Lil’ Krill has a message for anyone using krill oil products – you can live without krill. The oceans can’t. SumOfUs is asking CVS and Wallgreens Boots Alliance to stop selling krill products and put the health of the Antarctic ecosystem before their profits.