Saturday, December 9, 2023

Evian Taps Coperni for Custom Water Bottle As It Fights Greenwashing Claims


Evian has partnered with Coperni for a custom glass bottle aimed at exploring the universe as the E.U. is urged to take action against the label for greenwashing.

Evian, the renowned French mineral water brand, has embarked on an innovative collaboration with the Paris-based fashion label Coperni, creating a unique limited-edition glass bottle. This special design, a first for Evian, features a constellation pattern that can only be viewed through a peephole, cleverly concealing its primary product — the water. This collaboration marks a significant departure from traditional bottle designs and is a testament to Evian’s commitment to exploring new creative territories.

Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant, the founders of Coperni, expressed their ambition for a design that hadn’t been done before. “I thought it would be interesting to do something that was not decorative but more interactive,” Meyer said in a statement. The bottle innovation aligns with Coperni’s ethos of integrating fashion and technology. “I loved the idea of pushing the brand into new territory and doing something different than clothes. Tech innovation is part of Coperni’s DNA, so I think we have the legitimacy to explore other fields,” he added. Coperni famously innovated during Fashion Week in 2022 when it had a dress spraypainted on model Bella Hadid. A champion of novel materials, it also launched a collection made from apple skin leather in partnership with actor Maisie Williams.

Evian has a history of collaborating with fashion designers and luxury brands, creating collectible bottles for years with icons such as Christian Lacroix, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Virgil Abloh. Vaillant sees joining this illustrious group as a “childhood dream,” allowing Coperni to reach a broader audience and offer its most affordable product yet. The collaboration extends Coperni’s reach beyond its traditional fashion domain, engaging people in restaurants and at home.

coperni vegan handbag
Coperni apple leather handbag was designed by actress Maisie Williams | Photo courtesy Coperni

Dawid Borowiec, Evian’s global director, emphasized the brand’s strategy to engage consumers through cultural moments, particularly in sports and fashion. While Coperni may be smaller than Evian’s usual collaborators, its innovative approach resonated with the water brand. “We believe it’s an amazing house which has a bright future ahead,” Borowiec said. He believes the collaboration carries a deeper idea beyond just design.

The bottle’s design, likened to a spaceship’s porthole by Vaillant, reveals an astronomy-inspired motif that reflects the essence of both brands. The campaign, shot by Camille Summers-Valli, features a creative blend of history and modernity, showcasing the astronomer Copernicus and the Marquis de Lessert, Evian’s discoverer. This blend of heritage and innovation is also evident in the campaign’s setting at the Georges restaurant in Paris’s Pompidou Center, a venue facing imminent closure for renovation.

This year’s bottle deviates from the norm, with a foil wrap adorned with twinkling stars instead of the usual printed motif. Borowiec noted, “We have also chosen that because we’ll be promoting a lot a special display of those bottles within fine dining restaurants where we are present.” The bottle’s availability in the U.S. at Tao, Soho House, and Groot Hospitality, and at La Grande Epicerie in Paris.

The news comes as Evian’s parent company, Danone, was named in a formal complaint submitted to the European Commission by consumer and environmental groups. The complaint accuses Coca-Cola, Danone, and Nestlé of falsely marketing their plastic water bottles as either completely recycled or recyclable. This complaint, filed by the Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs (BEUC) and its member organizations across 13 countries on November 7, 2023, is based on a report by the BEUC, ClientEarth, and Environmental Coalition on Standards. These findings suggest that the companies’ claims of recyclability contravene E.U. regulations on unfair commercial practices.

Balmain x Evian
Evian partnered with Balmain in 2022 | Courtesy

Deputy Director General of BEUC, Ursula Pachl, says the claims are misleading, noting that such assertions are widespread across Europe on water bottle labels. She pointed out the absence of a guarantee for complete recycling post-disposal and termed this practice as greenwashing. The BEUC’s complaint highlights three specific misleading areas: claims of 100 percent recyclability and being made from 100 percent recycled materials, and the use of green imagery on packaging. The organization revealed that only 55 percent of used plastic bottles in Europe are recycled, with about a 30 percent chance of them being repurposed into bottles again. Furthermore, claims of bottles being entirely recycled are incorrect since components like lids and labels are often non-recyclable or seldom recycled.

The BEUC also criticized the use of green imagery, arguing that it falsely suggests environmental neutrality and an overstated potential for endless plastic reuse, misleading consumers about the product’s environmental impact. The groups have urged the European Commission and consumer protection authorities to investigate potential greenwashing by these companies.

In response, Coca-Cola, Danone, and Nestlé have all stated their commitment to enhancing the recyclability of their products and packaging. Coca-Cola and Nestlé stressed their focus on transparent communication and marketing. Coca-Cola’s statement highlighted its effort to provide substantiated packaging messages, including those aimed at promoting recycling awareness.

This incident comes amidst growing concerns about greenwashing, as governments and consumer groups scrutinize sustainability claims by corporations. Recent lawsuits against companies like Nike and Delta Air Lines, along with a 2022 lawsuit against Danone Waters of America, reflect this increasing vigilance. The E.U. has pledged to ban greenwashing this year, proposing regulations that would prohibit vague environmental claims, unverified sustainability labels, and unsupported assertions of carbon neutrality or environmental benefits.

Should the European Commission act on the BEUC’s complaint, it could lead to a coordinated response by national consumer agencies, potentially resulting in corrective measures or fines against the accused companies.

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