Working towards a sustainable environment

Starbucks, The Coca-Cola Company and McDonald’s are among a coalition of corporates to have joined a new scheme aimed at helping businesses to translate their plastic reduction pledges into measurable impacts.

<p>WWF is hoping to get 100 companies to join the scheme.  Image: Steve Morgan at WWF UK</p>

WWF is hoping to get 100 companies to join the scheme.  Image: Steve Morgan at WWF UK

Co-ordinated by international NGO WWF, the ReSource: Plastic initiative gives participating companies access to a digital platform which enables them to develop specific actions on the road to reaching their long-term, large-scale ambitions to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics.

The platform is laid out across three key pillars, namely maximising, measuring and multiplying the impact which can be achieved if corporates “correctly” implement ambitious plastic plans.

Under the “maximising” pillar, participants are given access to expert advice on implementing interventions which will yield the greatest impact. The advice will be given by professionals from WWF, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Ocean Conservancy.

The “measuring” part of the initiative will then provide participating firms with step-by-step guidance and a measurement framework to help quantify their plastic waste footprint, and how their actions are reducing it.

The final pillar, “multiplying”, is centred around connecting the participants with each other – and with other plastic-using firms across all sectors – to share solutions and join up ambitions.

Keurig Dr Pepper, McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, Tetra Pak and The Coca-Cola Company are the initiative’s founding members. WWF is hoping to garner the support of 100 companies for the scheme – a figure it believes can help prevent 10 million metric tonnes of plastic pollution annually, if all action is carried out through robust collaborations with the wider plastics industry and governments across the world.

“To get closer to our goal of no plastic in nature will take nothing short of transforming the entire value chain,” WWF’s chief conservation officer Nik Sekhran said.  

“With ReSource, companies now have access to more advanced tools to maximise, measure and multiply their commitments to make this a reality.”

“WWF is a key partner for Starbucks in our efforts to continue minimizing our environmental footprint,” Starbucks’ senior vice president of social impact and global public affairs John Kelly said.

“We look forward to being a part of ReSource: Plastic as we know it takes collaboration to find scalable, truly impactful solutions.”

Plastics partnerships

Between eight and 12 million tonnes of plastics are believed to be seeping into oceans and waterways every year – and that’s not to mention the plastic waste which is littered or otherwise mismanaged, leading to pollution on land.

The launch of ReSource: Plastic follows on from recent WWF research which found that that a further 104 million tonnes of plastic will “leak” into ecosystems by 2030 if policymakers, businesses and consumers do not collaborate to “drastically change” their approaches to the issue.

This environmental and social crisis also has financial implications for businesses, with between $80bn and $120bn being lost from the global economy every year due to a linear system for plastic packaging. 

In response to the issue, businesses are increasingly expanding their plastics action beyond their own operation by collaborating with competitors, policymakers and NGOs. Some of the largest collaborative schemes to have launched in recent months include the Plastic Leak Project , the Alliance to End Plastic Waste and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy commitment.

The NGOs operating such schemes claim they will help to drive transformational change on a scale which could not be achieved by any one business or government alone. However, businesses taking part in the Alliance to End Plastic Waste have faced criticism for investing billions in new plastic production facilities or expanding their existing infrastructure.

Plastics Hub at edie Live

Our hugely popular Mission Possible Plastics Hub content is coming to life at edie Live next week. Over the two days (21-22 May), edie Live will house a dedicated area for industry professionals to connect with one another, share circular economy ideas, meet packaging solutions providers, and discover ground-breaking plastic waste innovations. 

Designed by edie’s editorial team, this special area of the show will include single-use plastics roundtable discussions, packaging solutions stands and a professionally facilitated live plastics ‘thinkathon’.

Register for your free edie Live 2019 pass here.

Sarah George