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Veolia joins MacArthur's plastics drive

Veolia has joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative, which seeks to bring circular economy principles to the industry.

The scheme brings together companies, cities, philanthropists, policymakers, academics, students, NGOs and citizens to rethink and redesign the future of plastics, starting with packaging.

It follows a report from the foundation presented to the World Economic Forum at Davos in January which considered the global plastic packaging value chain, highlighting its contributions and drawbacks.

The report estimated that the annual loss of material was worth between $80bn and $120bn (£54bn and £92bn) with negative impact on the environmental costing at least $40bn a year. This is greater than the plastic packaging industry’s overall profit.

Dame Ellen MacArthur said the initiative sought to mobilise a fundamental transformation.

“It seeks to create a shared sense of direction, to spark a new wave of innovation and to move the plastics value chain – starting with plastic packaging – into a positive spiral of value capture, stronger economics and better environmental outcomes.

“We are delighted to have Veolia, with its resource management expertise, join as a core partner of the initiative.”

Veolia will work with stakeholders across the global plastics value chain on select workstreams and innovation projects.

“It will take a concerted effort involving various stakeholders to make the systemic changes needed to transition to a circular economy,” said Antoine Frérot, chairman and chief executive of Veolia.

The scheme comprises five areas:

  • Bringing together leading companies and cities across the global value chain to complete collaborative demonstration projects
  • Re-thinking plastic packaging materials, formats and after-use systems and standards
  • Mobilising targeted innovations that can scale across the system, to redefine what is possible and create the conditions for a new economy
  • Building an economic and scientific evidence base from which to draw insights
  • Engaging a broad set of stakeholders in the redesign of a better system

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