Burberry, H&M and Inditex are among more than 250 organisations to have signed a new global commitment led by the Ellen McArthur Foundation to eradicate plastic packaging waste and pollution.
The ‘New Plastics Economy Global Commitment’, which was announced today (29 October) at the Foundation’s ‘Our Ocean’ conference in Bali, is being launched in collaboration with UN Environment, which leads the Global Partnership on Marine Litter and its Clean Seas Campaign, and aims to set a clear vision and targets on the issue.
At the heart of the Global Commitment is a vision of a circular economy for plastic, where plastics never become waste. Targets will be reviewed every 18 months, and become increasingly ambitious over the coming years. They include:
- Elimination of problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging through redesign, innovation, and new delivery models.
- Move from single-use to reuse packaging models.
- Innovate to ensure all plastic packaging is 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025.
- Circulate the plastic produced, by significantly increasing the amounts of plastics reused or recycled and made into new packaging or products
- Ensure all plastic packaging is free of hazardous chemicals, and the health, safety and rights of all people involved are respected.
Signatories include companies representing 20% of all plastic packaging produced globally. Stella McCartney, Marks & Spencer, Walmart, Selfridges and Target Corporation are also among those have that signed, as are the UK and Scottish Governments.
Businesses that sign the pledge will publish annual data on their progress to help drive momentum and ensure transparency.
“Plastic waste and pollution is a big global environmental challenge,” says Cecilia Brännsten, environmental sustainability manager for H&M group.
“At H&M group we are committed to take the actions needed to shift the system towards a circular use of plastic packaging where it never ends up as waste. But there is no single brand that can tackle this industry-wide challenge on its own. We must act as one voice and the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment is a big step in the right direction, as it will align business and governments on a common agenda and timeframe. Signing this global commitment is also another important step in our journey to become 100% circular and renewable in our business.”
“We know that cleaning up plastics from our beaches and oceans is vital, but this does not stop the tide of plastic entering the oceans each year,” adds Dame Ellen MacArthur, founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. “We need to move upstream to the source of the flow. The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment draws a line in the sand, with businesses, governments and others around the world uniting behind a clear vision for what we need to create a circular economy for plastic.
“This is just one step on what will be a challenging journey, but one which can lead to huge benefits for society, the economy and the environment. I encourage all businesses and governments to go further and embark on a race to the top in the creation of a circular economy for plastic. One in which this material never becomes waste or pollution.”
The Global Commitment and its vision for a circular economy for plastic are supported by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and have been endorsed by the World Economic Forum, The Consumer Goods Forum (a CEO-led organisation representing some 400 retailers and manufacturers from 70 countries), and 40 universities, institutions and academics.
In addition, more than 15 financial institutions with in excess of US2.5 trillion in assets under management have also endorsed the Global Commitment, and more than $200m has been pledged by five venture capital funds to create a circular economy for plastic.