Global Businesses & NGOs Endorse a Common Vision for an Ambitious Global Plastics Treaty
Published on 21st September 2022
Plastic pollution is rapidly outpacing current efforts to stop it, and it doesn’t care about borders. Countries and organisations can’t fix the problem on their own. It is a global challenge that needs a coordinated and globally aligned response.
Many companies and countries have taken important voluntary steps, laying the foundations for wide-reaching cooperation. Through the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and UNEP’s Global Commitment, and the Foundation’s Plastics Pact Network, we have already seen +1,000 organisations take significant steps towards a circular economyA systems solution framework that tackles global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution. It is based on three principles, driven by design: eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials (at their highest value), and regenerate nature. for plastic. Businesses and governments have committed to change how we produce, use, and reuseThe repeated use of a product or component for its intended purpose without significant modification. plastic, with concrete 2025 targets and year-on-year reporting.
But voluntary agreements alone cannot reach the scale we need to urgently solve this crisis. Policymakers have a critical role to play in creating the right conditions and incentivising progress. A global treaty for a circular economy for plastics is the next necessary step to scale the successful voluntary agreements already in place. We need common, urgent action that builds on this momentum to amplify current efforts and level the playing field. We need a UN treaty on plastic pollution to amplify existing efforts, through a more coordinated and ambitious approach.
We applaud the decision taken at UNEA 5.2 in March 2022, where UN member states agreed on the adoption of a mandate for an International Negotiating Committee (INC) to develop a legally binding UN Treaty on plastic pollution. The INC will begin its work to deliver on the agreement during the second half of 2022, with the ambition of completing it by the end of 2024.
Includes explicit references to the circular economy, full life cycle and sustainable production and consumption.
Underlines the importance of promoting a circular design of products and materials so that they can be reused, remanufactured or recycled and therefore retained in the economy for as long as possible along with the resources they are made of, as well as minimising the generation of waste.
Encourages action by all stakeholders, including the private sector, and calls upon all UN member states to continue and step up their activities, whilst also recognising the significant contribution made by workers under informal and cooperative settings to collecting, sorting and recycling plastics in many countries.
Promotes cooperation at the global, regional, national and local levels, recognising the need to strengthen global coordination and governance to take immediate actions.
The UNEA 5.2 resolution represents a historic moment, but is just the beginning. There are key priorities the negotiation process must address, taking advantage of this landmark decision to put in place a treaty that can have real and ambitious impact towards a circular economy for plastics.
This new treaty should:
Include legally binding elements to prevent a patchwork of disconnected solutions, create a level playing field, and set the right enabling conditions to scale up circular economy solutions worldwide.
Address the full life cycle of plastics, including product design, aiming to keep plastics in the economy and out of the environment, reduce virgin plastic production and use, and decouple plastic production from the consumption of finite resources.
Provide a global common vision and harmonised standards that strengthen global coordination, and align stakeholders behind a common understanding and a shared approach to address plastic pollution.
Recognise the significant contribution made by workers under informal and cooperative settings to collecting, sorting and recycling plastics in many countries, and that they must be included as key stakeholders in the negotiation of the UN treaty on plastic pollution.
Our joint report with WWF and the Boston Consulting Group set out the opportunity for a UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution.
Published on 21st September 2022
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The Ellen MacArthur Foundation works to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. We develop and promote the idea of a circular economy, and work with business, academia, policymakers, and institutions to mobilise systems solutions at scale, globally.
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