- Marjorie van Elven
Over 290 companies representing 20 percent of all plastic packaging produced globally have signed a global commitment to end plastic waste and pollution at the source. The initiative was led by UK charity Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in collaboration with UN Environment. Fashion companies such as H&M, Walmart, Burberry, Target and Marks & Spencer have joined the list of signatories alongside governments, NGOs, packaging producers, retailers and recyclers.
“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. We need to move upstream to the source of the flow”, said a statement by dame Ellen MacArthur, the retired British sailor who launched the foundation 18 years ago to advocate for a circular economy. “This is the most ambitious set of targets we have seen yet in the fight to beat plastics pollution”, added Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UN Environment.
Ellen MacArthur Foundation announces ambitious commitment to fight plastic pollution
Targets include eliminating unnecessary plastic packaging and innovating to make sure 100 percent of plastic packaging can be reused, recycled or composted by 2025. “The Global Commitment aims to create a ‘new normal’ for plastic packaging. Targets will be reviewed every 18 months, and become increasingly ambitious over the coming years”, explained the foundation on its website. Participating businesses are expected to publish data on their progress annually to ensure transparency.
In addition to the apparel companies mentioned above, giants such as Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, Pepsi Co, Danone, L’Oreal, Mars and The Coca-Cola Company have also signed the commitment. The initiative has also been endorsed by the World Economic Forum, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and the Consumer Goods Forum (a CEO-led organization representing 400 retailers and manufacturers from 70 countries), as well as 40 universities. Last but not least, five venture capital funds have pledged over 200 million US dollars to create a circular economy for plastic.