The 2018 Our Ocean Conference just completed in Bali. Reportedly many participants and over 260 various ocean-related commitments were made during the 3-day event. The fact that #ourocean is finally beginning to receive the type of global attention and action from key players is a testament to the impact of every previous action – large and small, and how the world is changing!
Especially of interest to this post are the updates around plastic pollution commitments, from governments and businesses – the actions that they are also taking to lead our world to create profitable and clean businesses and cleaner oceans simultaneously.
One area that I was tracking was the two announcements for the launch of Circulate Capital – a partnership between Closed Loop Fund and the Ocean Conservancy, and the Global Commitments for the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) together with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
In the Global Commitments – the companies “will work to eliminate the plastic items we don’t need; innovate so all plastics we do need are designed to be safely reused, recycled, or composted; and circulate everything we use to keep it in the economy and out of the environment. ” And their clear target is by 2025.
As part of Circulate Capital – Companies pledge over $100Million in a joint effort to help build the South East Asian infrastructure to tackle plastic pollution.
5 MultiNationals in both Announcements
Out of 73 businesses that have committed with the New Plastics Economy – Global Commitments – together with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and UN Environmental Programme – five are also part of the Circulate Capital Companies (see table below). Provided that the objectives of both organizations are different – Coca-Cola, Danone, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever are participating in both platforms increasing their impact. While, through Global Commitments, they pledge to reduce the use of plastic packaging in their products and designing for circularity, through Circulate Capital, they are also investing to build infrastructure in South East Asia and other Developing countries.
While $100 Million is a much-needed investment for the cause, the world needs to see more companies join both the Circulate Capital partners and Global Commitments (as well as other available funds) quickly – increase the investment, shorten the time for new infrastructure implementation, reduce the amount of unnecessary plastics as well as packaging, and increase the reach into other countries.
As dire as the plastic production and pollution situation is in the world – the only way out is by operating with full capacity, all hands on deck in the next few years. Through the collaboration of governments, companies and, organizations across different layers, the tide is still reversible. The key is to hold each other, and every entity, accountable for the claims and commitments being made. Just raising our hands to want to make a change is no longer keeping us afloat, we need to work on measuring, reporting and openly discussing.
ALL solutions and innovations are required
Whether it is refusing, reusing, recycling, reducing, or cleaning – it’s all required. Both ocean and beach cleanups, as well as waste-to-energy innovations with reduced carbon emissions, are inevitably part of the near future. The world to date has produced over 8 billion metric tons of plastic – where an estimated 6.3 Billion Tons of it has gone into the ocean. While it is a given that we all need to be forward-looking and changing the way we’ve been producing, manufacturing, using, discarding plastics – those changes are for new products and do not address the problem of what’s already here.
It’s about collaboration, it’s about supporting each others’ causes – it’s about creating effective and efficient business plans and proposals to secure required funding for the innovative solutions. Even if some view these as “small steps” they are good and sound steps of leadership in the right direction to bring the world to a place we all want to go. Now for more companies to join them, and others, in making measurable, public and meaningful commitments!
Let’s get this done! 2025, here we come.
EMF & UNEP – New Plastics Economy – Global Commitments – Businesses
Circulate Capital Companies
Mission: To help make this vision a reality, businesses, and governments commit to a set of ambitious 2025 targets.
They will work to eliminate the plastic items we don’t need; innovate so all plastics we do need are designed to be safely reused, recycled, or composted; and circulate everything we use to keep it in the economy and out of the environment.
Companies pledging over $100Million in a joint effort to help build the South East Asian infrastructure to tackle plastic pollution.
Procter & Gamble
Businesses only in “Global Commitments”
ALPLA Werke Alwin Lehner GmbH & Co KG
BioPak Pty Ltd
Burberry Group Plc
H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB
Henkel AG & Co. KGaA
Internet Fusion Group
JAMES CROPPER PLC
Johnson and Johnson Consumer Inc.
Marks and Spencer plc
Matrix APA (UK) Ltd.
MIWA (MInimum WAste)
Paccor packaging solutions
PT Evogaia Karya Indonesia
Replenish Bottling LLC
Sealed Air Corporation
Skipping Rocks Lab
Swire Beverages Ltd
The Better Packaging Co.
The Bio-D Company Ltd
The New Zealand King Salmon Company Ltd
Walmart U.S., Walmart Canada, Walmart Mexico, and Sam’s Club
Werner & Mertz GmbH
Woolworths Holdings Limited
Procter & Gamble
Companies only in “Circulate Capital”
World Plastics Council
American Chemistry Council