Extinction Rebellion disrupts London Fashion Week calling on them to cut ties to plastic polluters, Coca Cola - Extinction Rebellion UK

Extinction Rebellion disrupts London Fashion Week calling on them to cut ties to plastic polluters, Coca Cola

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On Monday 20 February 2023, the penultimate day of this year’s London Fashion Week, Extinction Rebellion and affiliated groups gathered at 180 The Strand in London to demand an end to fossil fuel sponsorship of cultural events. A red carpet was rolled out where models in white boiler suits with ‘cut the oil out of Coke’ in red paint paraded up and down their own catwalk. A giant red banner has been unfurled in front of the venue reading ‘Coca Cola, World’s Top Plastics Polluter’ alongside a banner reading ‘Cut The Ties To Fossil Fuels’. Giant cola bottles filled with fake oil are being poured outside the venue.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) took the action with, Plastics Rebellion and Fashion Action, all coming under the ‘Cut The Ties’ campaign. They are demanding that London Fashion Week organisers stop signing with sponsors such as Diet Coke – part of the Coca Cola Company, the biggest plastics producer in the world. [1] 

Nancy, 59, a self-employed gardener from Alton in Hampshire said, “Our plastics addiction is feeding climate change.  Plastics are made from petrochemicals and Coca Cola is the world’s worst polluter, producing three million tonnes of plastic packaging each year.  We are literally drowning in plastic; in our oceans and on the land.  This is a climate, health and social justice issue.  I am here today to tell London Fashion Week to Cut the Ties to Coca Cola.”

The Cut The Ties campaign believes it is the responsibility of companies like Coca Cola to phase out fossil fuels as plastic is an oil and gas product and the plastics industry props up the fossil fuel economy. Every major plastics user has links, via the production chain, to one of the gas and oil giants. [2] The Coca Cola Company, who have been the world’s worst plastics producer five years in a row, have produced more plastics than the next two worst producers combined, and who have increased their use of virgin plastics. [3]

Tom Maidment, 38, a sales manager from East Sussex said, “Coca Cola is one of the worlds biggest and most recognisable brands, yet they contribute massively to the climate crisis due to the amount of plastic they use unnecessarily – they are the top producer of plastics that pollute the world, plastics that are made of oil. 

“Sponsoring events like the London Fashion Week allows them to polish their brand and ensure they continue to be a ‘reputable’ household name across the world. I’m here today because I care deeply about ensuring my son has a liveable world to grow up in, full of the beauties of nature that we have all been able to enjoy. I am here to tell The London Fashion week to cut the ties with Coca Cola, and cut the ties to fossil fuels.

Coca Cola’s current pledge to present 25% of Cola bottles in returnable or refillable plastic or glass by 2030 is the latest in the company’s history of “making pledges that are not then achieved”.[4] With the projected growth rate of the plastics market, the pledge would in the best case still leave us worse off in 2030 than the dire situation in which we are now.

The action is part of the 100 days countdown to The Big One [5] where 100,000 people will be gathering at the Houses of Parliament to tell the government they have had enough of the inadequate leadership, corruption, and blatant disregard for the wellbeing of the people they are meant to serve. XR will be calling for an end to the fossil fuel era and a citizens’ assembly to ensure a fair transition for people and planet. 



[1] Worst plastic polluters https://brandaudit.breakfreefromplastic.org/brand-audit-2022/

[2] According to Greenpeace, “Our investigation revealed plastic supply chain connections between every single FMCG [Fast Moving Consumer Goods] company we researched and at least one major fossil fuel and/or petrochemical company. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé, Mondelēz, Danone, Unilever, Colgate Palmolive, Procter & Gamble, and Mars all buy packaging from manufacturers supplied with plastic resin or petrochemicals by well-known companies like ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron Phillips,Ineos, and Dow.” https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/1001_GP_Unpacked_Summary_ENG_FINAL.pdf

[3] Coca Cola and Pepsi increased virgin plastic use 2018-2021 https://emf.thirdlight.com/link/f6oxost9xeso-nsjoqe/@/preview/3

[4] https://www.plasticsoupfoundation.org/en/2022/02/is-coca-colas-latest-promise-really-a-step-forward/

[5] The Big One: 21 – 24 April 2023, Houses of Parliament, London https://extinctionrebellion.uk/the-big-one/ 


Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and increasingly rapid climate change. If urgent and radical action isn’t taken, we’re heading towards 4˚C warming, leading to societal collapse and mass loss of life. The younger generation, racially marginalised communities and the Global South are on the front-line. No-one will escape the devastating impacts. 

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their government.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.

  1. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  2. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on Climate and Ecological Justice.

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