For a product marketed as “all natural,” the sustainability or environmental impact could not be farther away from what is advertised. The irresponsible sourcing of ingredients including water and tea render what this product is made of as unsustainable, and the manufacturing process further contributes to Snapple’s large negative impact. It is truly unacceptable for a company that has profited so much to now be taking steps backwards from sustainability such as replacing their glass bottles with plastic ones. By marketing this product as all natural, consumers may think that what they are buying doesn’t come with a large social and environmental impact, but this could not be farther from the truth.
The ingredients in this product are water, sugar, citric acid, tea, and natural flavors. One might assume that since there are very few ingredients and no harsh chemicals that this product has a leg up when it comes to sustainability. Unfortunately, Snapple has serious faults in the ethicality of their supply chain that make this the complete opposite case. When it comes to the water they use, they share goals they have for 2025 that include improving their water use efficiency and replenishing 100% of water used for their beverages in high water-risk communities. This means that despite the enormous profits that they make every year, they continue to negatively impact already vulnerable communities regarding water. Furthermore, they explain that they responsibly source 63% of their brewers which, considering the vast amount of resources they have at their disposal, is much too small of a percentage. This statistic translates to 37% of their brewers are sourced unethically when flipped, which is obviously not sustainable. The supply chain information for the other ingredients is not clear, and this lack of transparency could be a result of even more unsustainable practices.
While Snapple has recently announced some new sustainability measures like their plastic bottles made from recycled materials, the Corporate Responsibility goals of their parent organization Keurig Dr. Pepper reveals just how problematic their current practices are. First, they boast that in 2019, they reached 47% of energy used derived from renewable sources, but while this number is better than none, 53% of their energy comes from fossil fuels which is harmful especially because they have the resources and infrastructure to reach a much higher percentage. They also explain that 20% of their packaging was made from post-consumer recycled products, and once again while this is better than 0%, they are essentially admitting that 80% of their plastic is produced new. Since not all of their packaging is recyclable, this becomes even more problematic as this product will only contribute to the growing plastic problem. Arguably the worst practice and one that has not received enough attention is how Snapple recently switched their classic glass bottle with a plastic one, taking enormous steps in the wrong direction of sustainability.
The only reason why the score in this category is above zero is because the corporate environment of Snapple is inclusive and prioritizes employee health and safety. They have diversity initiatives and have received several awards for being a good employer. However, this cannot be said for those farther back in the supply chain. Coupled with their admission of irresponsibly sourced ingredients and the lack of transparency of the origin of others, it is unknown as to how the workers who source these ingredients are treated. Knowing that there are irresponsible sourcing practices, this would have a negative impact on the local communities and workers at the very beginning of their supply chain.