Companies including Coca-Cola, Carrefour, Colgate Palmolive, MARS, Nestlé, SC Johnson and Unilever have publicly disclosed the amount of plastic products they produce as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s (EMF) New Plastics Economy initiative.
Coca-Cola said it produced three million tonnes of plastic in 2017, Nestlé reported 1.7 million tonnes and Unilever 610,000 tonnes.
The New Plastics Economy Initiative was launched by the EMF and UN Environment in October last year, and more than 350 organisations have signed up.
Signatories are working to a 2025 target to eliminate unnecessary plastic, Some 40 brands and retailers are also piloting or expanding reuse and refill schemes.
The report into the initiative’s progress highlighted that consumer goods companies and retailers will increase recycled plastic content in packaging to an average of 25% by 2025 compared with a current global average of 2%.
UN Environment co-ordinator of the marine and coastal ecosystems branch, Lisa Svensson, said: “Within just a few months of the launch of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, we have seen important progress.
“The Foundation’s work to create a circular economy for plastic aligns very well with our ’Clean Seas’ campaign, which has become the biggest global compact addressing marine plastic.”
Businesses signed up to the initiative are jointly responsible for 20% of all plastic packaging used globally and organisers are keen to get more organisations signed up to the Initiative, particularly raw material producers. Of the major producers in this sector, only Indorama and Borealis have signed up.
Hospitality and food service companies are also being urged to sign up and commit to a plastics circular economy.
New Plastics Economy lead Sander Defruyt said: “The targets and action plans set out in this report are a significant step forward compared with the pace of change of past decades.
“However, they are still far from truly matching the scale of the problem, particularly when it comes to the elimination of unnecessary items and innovation towards reuse models.
“Ambition levels must continue to rise to make real strides in addressing global plastic pollution by 2025, and moving from commitment to action is crucial. Major investments, innovations and transformation programmes need to start now.”
Those signed up to the New Plastics Economy include more than 150 businesses, representing 20% of the global plastic packaging market. There are also 16 governments, 26 financial institutions, six investors and more than 50 universities and educational organisations.