Ellen MacArthur Foundation report shows progress on throwaway plastic reductions, but more work to be done

by Perry Wheeler

March 13, 2019

Washington, DC – A report released by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF), in collaboration with UN Environment, finds that a number of corporations have taken steps toward increased transparency and reduction and reuse efforts, but more action and urgency is needed. The report follows EMF’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment launch in October, which set forth a vision to stop plastic pollution at the source.

The report finds that:

  • More than 30 companies, including Coca-Cola, Unilever, SC Johnson, and Nestlé, have disclosed their annual plastic packaging volumes to move toward greater transparency.
  • 100 more organizations have signed onto the commitment, including Barilla, Tetrapak, and L’OCCITANE en Provence, bringing the total number of signatories up to 350.
  • 40 brands and retailers are piloting or expanding refill and reuse programs.
  • Corporations and retailers have committed to increase recycled content in their packaging to an average of 25 percent by 2025.
  • More action is needed to eliminate problematic and unnecessary plastic packaging, and shift toward reuse models that reduce the need for single-use packaging.

In response to the report, Greenpeace Global Plastics Project Leader Graham Forbes said:

“EMF’s Global Commitment recognizes the importance of transparency, reduction, and innovation in addressing the plastic pollution crisis and sets a useful minimum bar for corporate action. While some steps have been taken to fulfill the commitment, companies like Nestlé and Unilever have failed to deliver meaningful progress on the most important aspects of the commitment — reducing single-use plastic and innovating toward refill and reuse models.

“The current ambition level shown from some of the world’s largest companies falls far short of what is needed to turn the tide on plastic pollution. We echo EMF’s call for more action to eliminate problematic and unnecessary throwaway plastics and shift toward reuse models that reduce the need for single-use packaging.

“Since signing onto the EMF declaration, one of the world’s largest plastic-polluting companies, Nestlé, has taken baby steps to address its international plastic pollution footprint, while doubling down on its single-use packaging model. Thus far, Nestlé and other major players seem to be doing the bare minimum to secure a positive headline, but not the real work to tackle the crisis they helped create. It’s time for action that meets the scale of the problem at hand.”

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To read the EMF report and press release, click here: https://newplasticseconomy.org/news/spring-2019-report 

Contact: Perry Wheeler, Greenpeace USA Senior Communications Specialist, +1 301 675 8766

Perry Wheeler

By Perry Wheeler

Perry Wheeler is a senior communications specialist at Greenpeace USA.

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