11/23/2022 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/23/2022 11:49
At the UN Environment Assembly earlier this year, 175 countries agreed to begin negotiations on a UN treaty on plastic pollution. With projections that plastic pollution is set to rapidly increase by 2040, governments have agreed to work together to find common solutions to this critical issue.
While business has been laying the pathway with voluntary action - most notably the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Global Commitment - it's clear that such initiatives must be supported by policy if the world is to move with the speed required to truly solve this problem.
That's why we're advocating for a robust legally binding treaty that sets common goals, rules and obligations that member states must implement. One that helps governments create a level playing field for the industry and prevents a patchwork of disconnected solutions.
Next week, the world gets down to business
The agreement made at UNEA provides an outline of what the treaty will be and how governments should come together to work out the finer details. It set in motion a series of twice-yearly Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee meetings (INCs) which aim to have a final text ready by the end of 2024. This is a highly ambitious timeframe for a global instrument of this sort.
The first INC takes place in Uruguay next week and will see over 500 government representatives gather to begin negotiations.
The INCs offer a chance for stakeholders to attend and put across their views on what the treaty should be. These stakeholders include thought leaders from civil society, science and academia as well as business. Importantly, it also includes representatives from the informal sector (local waste collectors or waste pickers), whose role in the global recycling system often goes unrecognised.
Unilever will be present in Uruguay as part of the newly formed Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty - a group of over 90 leading businesses and financial institutions committed to supporting the development of an ambitious, effective and legally binding UN treaty.
We're endorsing a business vision which sets out a collective view on what it should achieve and how. We believe it must set the right enabling conditions to successfully end plastic pollution and support sustainable business growth.
As Richard Slater, our Chief R&D Officer, says: "The UN treaty on plastic pollution offers a historic chance to create an effective, legally binding, global plan to tackle plastic waste at the scale and speed required."
What is Unilever asking for?
What should the treaty achieve?
How should the treaty achieve this?
Watch this short video to see highlights from the Business Coalition launch event in September 2022 on the fringes of the UN General Assembly.
Find out more about the Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty and register interest to join.
Main photo is of a 30-foot sculpture titled 'Turn off the plastic tap' by Canadian artist Benjamin von Wong, made with plastic waste from Nairobi's Kibera slum.