Colruyt finds itself on the wrong side of this debate

Colruyt was asked by TV journalists to respond to our Brand Audit 2023. To our surprise they declined to appear on camera but their written statement sadly revealed that Colruyt is on the wrong side of this debate.

Firstly, they found a Brand Audit unfamiliar. It’s clearly the first time they are confronted with one. Unlike Coca-cola, the number two on our list, because they are regularly confronted with brand audits being identified as the largest plastic polluter worldwide.

Secondly, they said to be working on innovative solutions, we hope they don’t go looking too far, why wouldn’t they take the logical step of selling in bulk which is possible for so many products?

Thirdly, Colruyt, once again, dared to blame consumer behavior for the plastic pollution crisis, deflecting attention away from their own excessive plastic production. The whole industry has been repeating it for decades and today it’s a widely accepted idea that the consumers are to blame. A wrong idea. For example, cities and communes can’t follow the speed with which trash bins are filled. Our society is flooded with unnecessary plastic packaging and it’s leaking into the environment in so many more ways than only consumers leaving litter behind.

On top of that, plastic pollutes during its whole life cycle. From the extraction of oil needed to make plastic, to making nurdles which leak into the environment, to production, transport and recycling, and consumers are only involved in the final phase.

They also said they are actively collaborating to find solutions, WRONG, they have been doing the exact opposite for more than 10 years. Colruyt is one of the companies who has been fighting fiercely against the introduction of the deposit system in Belgium. Which makes them co-responsible for tons and tons of cans and plastic bottles in the environnment these last years alone.

Today Colruyt wants to go for a digital deposit system, which benefits them but lacks proven impact on litter and excludes a large part of the population.

Our Brand Audit accually focussed on all supermarkets and producers, not just Colruyt. We urge them to yearly publish and reduce their plastic production, collaborate on implementing a physical deposit system, reinvent packaging to be reusable or plastic-free, sell products in bulk without packaging and stop blaming consumers.

Let’s go for real sustainable consumption instead of supermarket shelves full of unnecessary plastic.