Signatories of the statement calling for a legally binding United Nations treaty to tackle plastic pollution include Nestlé, Coca Cola and Unilever.
The treaty will be discussed later this year at the UN Environment Assembly. It calls for a "holistic, coordinated international response" that includes commitments to reduce plastic production, a robust governance framework to ensure international compliance, and pledges that plastics are kept out of our natural environment.
A treaty, unlike a voluntary agreement between businesses such as the UK Plastics Pact, is an international agreement governed by international law – with penalties if it is not enforced. If ratified, it will be another example of the increasing number of policies and agreements, both voluntary and legislative, focussing on plastic production and use.
The treaty is accompanied by a 37 page report that outlines the business case for a legally binding instrument to reduce plastic pollution, and is undersigned by over 70 brands, producers and waste managers.
The study reports that, at present, more than 11 million metric tons of plastic are deposited into the ocean annually, and that until cross-sectoral collaboration results in the elimination of unnecessary plastic use, plastic pollution will only continue to propagate ecological, social and economic harm.
Global measurable targets
Cristianne Close - Global Leader of Markets Practice at WWF International who co-authored the accompanying report – commented "The absence of an effective systemic response has hindered progress, threatened sustainable economic growth, and has direct consequences on the environment and wildlife."
"With this study we are presenting a business case for supporting a new global treaty on plastic pollution. One that sets global measurable targets that governments, business and consumers can contribute to achieve."
In the UK, as businesses gear up for the Plastic Packaging Tax commencing in April, we also expect announcements on the design of Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging, alongside a number of single-use plastic bans being consulted on across the UK.
You can find out more about the Plastic Pollution Treaty here.
As Policy advisor Louisa provides key support to our team, including preparing reports on environmental policy issues and maintaining awareness of new developments. As such she will often be found coordinating responses to policy consultations, advocating policy positions and providing internal guidance to current legislation.