Features, Opinion

Coca-Cola and other big hitters sign plastic pollution pact

Some of the biggest brands on the planet have joined forces and called upon the governments of the world to do more to tackle plastic pollution. Brand including Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Pepsico, IKEA and Mars have joined forces to plead for governments to come up with an all-encompassing plan that will show consistency across the various government jurisdictions around the globe.

Here is the statement in full:

“We call for an ambitious treaty based on a circular economy to address plastic pollution on a global scale. With the backing of almost two thirds of UN Member States, the time has come to start intergovernmental negotiations for a new UN treaty. In 2022, national governments will gather for the resumed session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2), presenting the international community with a unique opportunity to take substantial decisions on plastic pollution.

A new UN treaty is crucial to set a high common standard of action for all countries to abide by, and to drive the transition to a circular economy for plastics globally and at scale. This requires governments to align on regulatory measures that cover the whole life cycle of plastics, not limiting the scope of negotiations to address waste management challenges only.

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We, as a group of signatories to the business call for a UN Treaty on plastic pollution recognise that:

  • The issue of plastic pollution is transboundary in nature and leads to significant negative impacts on our environment, society and economy
  • A holistic, coordinated international response that tackles problems at its source is urgently needed to effectively stop plastic leakage into nature
  • A circular economy for plastics will contribute to the efforts to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss, while bringing positive social and economic impacts.

Therefore, we urge UN Member States to establish an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee at UNEA 5.2 to develop an ambitious international, legally binding instrument on plastic pollution that:

  • Includes both upstream and downstream policies, 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 fossil resources
  • Sets a clear direction to align governments, businesses and civil society behind a common understanding of the causes of plastic pollution and a shared approach to address them. For companies and investors, this creates a level playing field and prevents a patchwork of disconnected solutions, while setting the right enabling conditions to make a circular economy work in practice and at scale.
  •  Provides a robust governance structure to ensure countries’ participation and compliance, with common definitions as well as harmonised standards applicable to all. This facilitates investments to scale innovations, infrastructures, and skills in the countries and industries most in need of international support.

We are at a critical point in time to establish an ambitious UN treaty that fosters collaboration for systemic solutions and speeds up the transition to a circular economy globally. UNEA 5.2 is the decisive, most auspicious moment to turn the tide on the global plastic pollution crisis. We cannot afford to miss it.”