The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and UN Environment Programme have published the second progress report on the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment.
The Global Commitment unites businesses, governments, and other organisations behind a common vision to address plastic waste and pollution at its source, beginning with plastic packaging.
Aiming towards an ambitious set of 2025 targets, the Global Commitment was launched in October 2018 by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme. It unites more than 500 organisations behind the common vision of a circular economy for plastic, in which it never becomes waste or pollution.
Ecosurety joined the commitment in March 2019, in recognition of the proactive positive impact made towards improving UK plastics recycling through innovation and education. This includes projects such as #LeedsByExample, #InTheLoop and PolyMet.
The new report considers how the Global Commitment signatories, who account for more than 20% of the plastic packaging market, are faring against their 2025 targets on plastics. After a quantitative baseline was set by the first report in 2019, this 2020 report provides the first insight into the trajectory of progress against that baseline.
Much more must be done
The report shows that while progress has been made between 2018 and 2019, much more must be done, and at greater speed, to achieve the 2025 targets and tackle plastic pollution.
For example, there are substantial differences in progress between signatories – some have taken big steps forward, however others have shown little to no progress against quantitative targets. As such, the report sets out calls to action for businesses and governments - including the need for ambitious reduction targets, and the creation of an international framework on plastic pollution.
Significant advances have been made in two key areas however - the incorporation of recycled content in plastic packaging grew 22% year on year, and the phasing out of the most commonly identified problematic categories of plastic packaging has advanced, such as PS, PVC, undetectable carbon black, single-use plastic bags and straws.
Unfortunately, there has been limited progress on increasing recyclability of plastic packaging and on reducing the need for single-use packaging altogether.
Driving transparency and consistency
In the report, 118 businesses that produce, use, and recycle large volumes of plastic packaging and 17 governments across five continents have reported on progress against public targets. They have all been asked to report against a common set of commitments, using the same definitions, with the aim of driving transparency and consistency in data sharing on plastics across a significant group of businesses and governments.
- eliminate the plastic items we don’t need
- innovate so all plastics we do need are designed to be safely reused, recycled, or composted
- circulate everything we use to keep it in the economy and out of the environment
- 250+ businesses across all stages of the plastic packaging value chain, representing more than 20% of all plastic packaging used globally
- 200+ endorsing signatories including 27 financial institutions with a combined USD 4 trillion worth of assets under management; leading institutions such as National Geographic, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Consumer Goods Forum, and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); and 50 academics, universities, and other educational and research organisations
- 20 national, sub-national, and local level governments across five continents
Marketing projects specialist
Ben joined the team at the beginning of 2015 and helps drive marketing communications and projects for Ecosurety, including project managing the launch of the Ecosurety Exploration Fund and website content development.