22 January 2018: Eleven global corporations announced at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, that they will ensure all their packaging is reused, recycled or composted by the year 2025. The companies are working on this transition with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a UK-registered charity whose mission is to accelerate the shift to a circular economy. The companies that made the pledge are behind many household consumer brands and include: Amcor, Ecover, Evian, L’Oréal, Mars, Marks & Spencer, PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Company, Unilever, Walmart, and Werner & Mertz. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that the 11 companies making the pledge are responsible for six million tonnes of plastic packaging every year.
The companies announced their pledge at the launch of the WEF Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE). The platform is open to companies, organizations, and governments to create innovative partnerships for decoupling economic growth from resource use. Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever, called on the consumer goods industry to abandon the linear “take-make-dispose” model of consumption and turn to a truly circular model that emits no waste.
The CEO of Unilever called on the consumer goods industry to abandon the linear “take-make-dispose” model of consumption and turn to a truly circular model that emits no waste.
In the lead-up to Davos, Coca-Cola announced its goal of collecting and recycling “the equivalent” of every bottle or can that it sells by 2030. The company has launched its own plan, ‘World Without Waste,’ which focuses on the life cycle of materials used in its packaging. In an op-ed first published on Medium.com, James Quincey, CEO and President, highlighted the company’s efforts towards this goal, including: the introduction of ‘PlantBottle’ in 2009, a container made from up to 30% plant-based materials; cooperation with the plastics industry to promote recycling activities in Mexico; and its sponsorship of coastal clean-up exercises through the NGO Ocean Conservancy.
McDonald’s announced that all its consumer packaging around the world will come from renewable, recycled or certified sources, preferably sources that have a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. In 2017, just 50% of the company’s consumer packaging came from such sources.
The global packaging company Amcor was the first to take the recycling pledge. Ron Delia, CEO, highlighted this as a key step in differentiating the company as a global leader in the packaging industry.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is leading a three-year initiative, the ‘New Plastics Economy,’ which seeks a shift towards the sustainable use of plastics. The Foundation also partners with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and others to promote the circular economy. On 5 December 2017, the organizations organized a seminar in Nairobi, Kenya, on the role of the circular economy in the transition towards a pollution-free planet, together with the EU, WEF, Chatham House, and the Institute for Development Studies (IDS). The event discussed global action on sustainable consumption and production (SCP), and highlighted examples of actions and policies for enhancing resource efficiency, discouraging unsustainable consumption patterns, and redirecting investment for a clean and circular economy. [New Plastics Economy Press Release] [Ellen MacArthur Foundation Website] [Coca Cola Press Release] [James Quincey Op-Ed] [MacDonald’s Press Release] [UNEP Event Page]
References: International Institute for Sustainable Development. (2018). Retrieved from http://sdg.iisd.org/news/eleven-global-corporations-pledge-to-recycle-all-packaging-by-2025/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2018-01-25%20-%20SDG%20Update%20AE&utm_content=2018-01-25%20-%20SDG%20Update%20AE+CID_c7aaf68249879e1290bf73cb9ba22b86&utm_source=cm&utm_term=Eleven%20Global%20Corporations%20Pledge%20to%20Recycle%20All%20Packaging%20by%202025