When in 2011, representatives of 47 world plastics organizations from 29 countries collectively signed the newly drawn up Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter, it was the first time the global plastics industry committed to help create solutions to what was, after all, a global problem. The “Joint Declaration”, as it is known, is based on the premise that all stakeholders have a role to play, and that there is no single “silver bullet” to solve the problem. Building on work in individual regions, these organizations work with governments, NGOs, researchers and other stakeholders in projects designed to provide solutions for marine litter.
Since its launch, the initiative has continued to attract new partners. This year alone saw the addition of the American Fiber Manufacturers Association (AFMA), the Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BPGMEA), the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA), the Ghanaian Plastics Manufacturers Association (GPMA), the Myanmar Plastics Industries Association (MPIA), the Indonesian Olefins, Aromatics and Plastics Association (INAPLA), and the Vietnam Plastics Association (VPA). Today, the Declaration has been signed by a total of 69 plastics associations from regions across the globe.
“We’re excited to welcome each of these new partners, who bring perspectives from countries in Asia and Africa, or types of plastic not previously represented in our Joint Declaration,” said Steve Russell, Vice President, Plastics, American Chemistry Council, at the 27th Global Meeting on Plastics and Sustainability in Hanoi, Vietnam. With delegates from 17 countries and four continents, it was the largest and best attended meeting to date. At the meeting, delegates also agreed that going forward the group will become the “Global Plastics Alliance.”
Karl-H. Foerster, Executive Director of PlasticsEurope, also welcomed the new members, pointing out that “Broadening our fold helps us find new partners and opportunities to tackle this very serious problem.” To which Callum Chen, Secretary General of the Asia Plastics Forum, added: “The strong participation at this meeting demonstrates that this industry is committed to providing solutions to ensure a more sustainable future. But there is still much to do. Growing our ranks helps further grow our work.”
Since initiating the Global Declaration, the signatory associations have identified numerous specific actions across six focus areas aimed at contributing to sustainable solutions. The six focus areas of the Global Declaration are education, research, public policy, sharing best practices, plastics recycling/recovery, and plastic pellet containment.
In May, leaders from plastics organizations across the globe announced that there were approximately 260 projects planned, underway or completed.