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Major Brands, NGOs Come Together to Endorse Global Plastics Treaty

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and WWF announced today the formation of a Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty.

Norbert Sparrow

September 21, 2022

3 Min Read
globe with international flags
Image courtesy of Alamy/Bonaventura

Building on the United Nations (UN) resolution to begin negotiations for a global treaty to end plastic pollution, global businesses in the plastics value chain, financial institutions, and non-governmental associations announced today a common vision to support such a treaty. The newly launched Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty will be convened by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and WWF.

Some of the world’s most well-known brands, including Nestlé, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola Co., 3M, Danone, Mars Inc., and Unilever, as well as Henkel and Borealis, are among the 85 companies that have signed on to support the initiative. An admittedly smaller group of NGOs, including Business for Nature and Circular Australia, are also on board. The aim, in a nutshell, is to “accelerate progress toward a circular economy in which plastic never becomes waste or pollution, and the value of products and materials is retained in the economy,” said the statement issued today.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has been at the forefront of the circular economy since 2016, when it and the World Economic Forum published a paper, “The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics.” The concept was discussed in January of that year at the Davos Summit, giving it global resonance and making the “circular economy” an instant buzzword. For a refresher on the circular economy — its terms and their definitions — read this excellent article authored by Dan Carney: “Glossary: Defining the Terms of the Circular Economy.

The UN resolution to end plastic pollution was unanimously adopted on March 2, 2022, during a UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, and the treaty negotiation process is expected to conclude at the end of 2024. The coalition convened by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and WWF will bring a strong and ambitious voice for business to that negotiation process, said the news release.

“A Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty will push strongly for a framework that leaves the business-as-usual approach at the door and ushers us into a new era where ending plastic pollution is finally within reach,” said WWF’s Erin Simon, Vice President and Head of Plastic Waste and Business.

Ahead of the first Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee meeting scheduled for the end of November this year, the endorsing organizations call for progress on the following fronts:

  • Reduction of plastic production and use through a circular economy approach;

  • increased circulation of necessary plastic;

  • preventing micro- and macro-plastic leakage into the environment.

Commenting on the business coalition, Gayle Schueller, Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer at 3M, called the development of a legally binding UN treaty to end plastic waste a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to accelerate the “transition to a circular economy for plastics.” Schueller noted that 3M is committed to overhauling the “take, make, waste” model of consumption and is investing over $1 billion over the next 20 years to support environmental goals. “We are thrilled to embark on this new mission with other global businesses, financial institutions, and NGOs that are equally committed to drive systemic change needed to advance climate solutions,” said Schueller.

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree. Reach him at [email protected].

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