Sawan Kumar, stewardship analyst at Evenlode
Plastic pollution is acting as a key catalyst for society to transition more rapidly towards a circular economy.
It is also, increasingly, becoming a focus for many of the companies we analyse and invest in our Global Income fund.
Minimising waste and increasing resource efficiency does not just have a positive environmental and social impact. It can help build staff and customer perceptions of a business, while also improving productivity and therefore profitability in the medium to long-term.
Unilever, for instance, is becoming a leader in tackling the issue of plastic pollution by finding alternatives to this incredibly versatile material.
Last April, the company became a founding member of the UK Plastics Pact which aims to eliminate unnecessary single-use plastics through redesign, innovation or finding alternative methods to packaging by 2025.
Unilever, to further drive the agenda forward, held a plastic ‘hackathon’ late last year where ten teams worked with leading designers, innovators and packaging experts to come up with a solution to eliminate single-use plastics from one of its products.
As a result of this, the company is investing into a low-cost alternative to single-use laundry sachets which is completely free from plastic. The new product dissolves in water and has a plant-derived coating to protect against humidity in the developed markets.
This is just one of the examples of how companies are tackling the issue. However, there remains much to do, and companies need to continue to work alongside governments and the general public to accelerate this transition away from plastic usage.