Business giants join global commitment to tackle waste

20th March 2019

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Letitia Lees

Coca-cola, Nestlé and Unilever are among a group of leading business that have agreed to disclose their annual packaging volumes after joining the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's New Global Commitment.

They have also pledged to increase recycled content in their packaging to 25% by 2025, compared with the global average of just 2%, while 40 companies are piloting or expanding reuse and refill schemes.

And the companies said they will end the use of problematic and unnecessary plastic, such as single-use straws and carrier bags, many of them doing so by the end of the year.

This is the first time that details of how brands, governments, and other organisations are attempting to tackle plastic pollution have been set out side-by-side.

“The targets and action plans are a significant step forward compared with the pace of change of past decades,“ the foundation's new plastics economy lead, Sander Defruyt, said.

“Ambition levels must continue to rise to make real strides in addressing global plastic pollution by 2025, and moving from commitment to action is crucial.“

The commitment was first launched in October last year, establishing a vision to stop plastic waste and pollution at the source by applying circular economy principles.

The number of signatories has risen to more than 350 since then, and now includes Apple, Barilla, Tetra Pak, and L'OCCITANE en Provence, as well as the government of Rwanda and the cities of S√°o Paulo and Ljubljana.

Financial institutions with over $4trn (£3trn) in assets under management have also endorsed the commitment.

UN Environment coordinator of the marine and coastal ecosystems branch, Lisa Svensson, said: “UN Environment is delighted to be working with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to help turn the tide on plastic pollution.

“Within just a few months of the launch of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, we have seen important progress.

“The foundation's work to create a circular economy for plastic aligns very well with our Clean Seas campaign, which has become the biggest global compact addressing marine plastic.“

Image credit: Shutterstock

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