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Soda brand performance fizzles out

There’s nothing more refreshing than a can or bottle of ice-cold soda. What is less refreshing is the sustainability performance of many popular soda brands. Soda brands face challenges with regards to energy and water use, the need for sustainable and recyclable packaging, and ethically sourced sugar and other raw materials – and Rank a Brand’s latest ranking in this sector shows that many soda brands are not up to scratch.

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Rank a Brand reviewed the sustainability performance of 29 soda brands. This review includes an assessment of brands’ policies on climate protection, environmental protection and labour rights. The overall conclusion to be drawn is that there is still a lot of work to be done for soda brands to improve their performance. Only one brand, Lemonaid, scored a B-label, but 26 out of the 29 brands scored either a D- or E-label.

The high scorers
Lemonaid, a German brand, was by far the best performer in the sector – scoring 14 of a possible 24 points. Lemonaid performs especially well with its labour policy, and uses environmentally certified sugar and raw materials for its products. Two other German brands, Bionade and Premium-Cola, earned a C-label, both scoring 11 out of 24 points. Bionade scored well on its environmental policy, while Premium-Cola does better on its labour policy.

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The general trends
As mentioned, the overall trend across all brands is poor. While almost all brands have a policy to deal with greenhouse gas emissions, and a number of brands have environmental protection and fair labour policies – it is important to stress that these are only policies, they are not an indicator of a brand’s actual performance. The brands owned by soda giants Coca-Cola (which includes Fanta and Sprite), PepsiCo (which includes 7UP), Dr Pepper, and Red Bull, all scored either D- or E-labels. In addition, the brands Raak and The Original London both scored zero points.

When it comes to reporting on concrete results, only 18% of brands reported a reduction or compensation of their climate footprint by at least 10% in the last five years. Only two brands, Bionade and Premium-Cola, sufficiently report on their use of energy from renewable sources. Finally, despite 42% of brands publishing a fair labour policy, only one brand (Lemonaid) purchases all its ingredients from socially certified sources.

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