Yesterday, on International Recycling Day, Beer giant Corona announced a partnership with Parley for the Oceans (Parley), an organisation focused on raising awareness of the fragility of the world’s oceans, with Corona committing to implement a ‘plastic-conscious philosophy’ across its brand, including in its packaging operations.

The company has committed to an evaluation of its supply chain, with an end goal of replacing currently used plastic items. It also pledges to educate its employs on the use and impact of plastic items at brand events. Corona has claimed that it already avoids the use of plastic in its promotional materials, instead opting for wood-based branding, and using metal buckets rather than plastic containers to serve its beers at public venues.

If carried out to the full extent, the implications could be huge for the packaging and beverage industries. Corona Extra is the top selling imported beer in the United States, and the brand has a notable portfolio worldwide, present in wide variety of markets.

Marine plastic pollution is one of the biggest threats to human health in the world today, as well to the biodiversity of the planet. In a press release the company reinforced this by quoting the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s figures released at Davos 2017 earlier this year; that by 2050 the world’s oceans will contain more plastic than fish if current rates continue, with eight million tonnes of plastic per year ending up in oceans.

Avoiding, intercepting, redesigning

Corona and Parley have made a joint announcement of their plan to protect 100 islands across the planet by 2020, starting in Mexico, the Maldives, Australia, Chile, Italy, and the Dominican Republic.

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“We needed to take a stand and protect the heart and soul of our brand. We will spread our love for the oceans and make people understand that we need to take care of it, inspiring people to change their own behaviors” said Corona global vice president Thiago Zanettini, going on to speak of the company’s responsibility as a stakeholder in more than 180 countries to use its reach for a positive cause.

The companies are using Parley’s ‘AIM’ strategy, standing for ‘avoid, intercept and redesign’. The plan includes the principles of education to reinforce the importance of sensible plastic use, the collection of exiting waste, and the finding of new methods to turn that waste into new products, such as recycled packaging, or even art and fashion commodities.

Astounding evidence of human waste

The announcement comes days after reports emerged that Henderson Island in the South Pacific, been found to be home to the highest density of anthropogenic debris, or waste originating from a human source, of anywhere in the world, with 38 million pieces of plastic waste found on the tiny uninhabited island by researchers from the University of Tasmania and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Speaking to the Guardian, the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies’ Jennifer Lavers was reported as saying “I’ve travelled to some of the most far-flung islands in the world and regardless of where I’ve gone, in what year, and in what area of the ocean, the story is generally the same: the beaches are littered with evidence of human activity.”

Corona is not the first company to make a commitment like this either. P&G partnered with TerraCycle in January, announcing they will be using washed up beach plastic for a limited edition bottle of shampoo, as well as pledging to create half a billion recycled-plastic bottle a year by 2018.