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Soft drinks not so soft for environment and labor conditions

Most soft drink brands show little ambition when it comes to the use of fair trade and environmentally certified ingredients, reduction of packaging, waste and water usage, and climate impact. Let alone that these brands show some actual results. Luckily, there are some exceptions that are performing better. One would expect that a sector that depends so much on water as its main resource to be more careful with water.


Front runners

For our latest ranking we assessed 30 soft drinks brand. Top performer of this list is Lemonaid. This small German brand is the only brand with a B label, with a score of 14 out of 24. Another German brand, Bionade, scores reasonably well with 11 out of 24, sufficient for a C label.

Lemonaid performs well on labor conditions, by using Fair Trade and environmentally certified ingredients. However, Lemonaid doesn’t provide clear information on the reduction of its carbon and water footprints, so there is still room for improvement in that area. For Bionade, it is the other way around. This pioneer in organic soda has a good score on climate impact and performs pretty well on environmental aspects, but low on labor conditions due to a lack of information. What a great score would these brands achieve if they were able to combine each other’s strengths. Bionade has improved its label from D to C, as a result of increased transparency by issuing their first CSR report.


Disappointing performance of large brands 

The performance of the large soda brands is disappointing. More than half of the assessed brands, including Dr Pepper, Red Bull, and Rivella, get the lowest label: E. This label means that these brands show little or no interest in sustainability and fair trade. We advise consumers not to buy these brands until they have improved their policies and performance.

Ten other brands have taken first steps and get the D label. These include 7UP, Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite and Pepsi. Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprit, all brands of the Coca-Cola company, have lost their C label. This was caused by the application of stricter criteria for the use of fair trade and environmentally certified ingredients, packaging and waste. Rank a Brand keeps setting the bar higher, because we feel that brands should continuously improve on sustainability and fair trade. Unfortunately, this is not shown by the large brands.

Help us to improve sustainability of soft drink brands

You can find the full list of assessed brands on the overview page of soda brands on our website. By clicking on a brand you will gain more information about our assessment. Moreover, you can send the brands a message by clicking the ‘nudge this brand’ link.

To improve the sustainability performance of soft drinks, we can use your help. Support Rank a Brand! Besided financial support, you can also help us in our research as a volunteer. If you want to be kept informed about our work, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or subscribe to our newsletter in the upper right corner of our website.

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