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A UN treaty on plastic pollution moves another step closer

Updated: Jan 21

UN treaty on plastic pollution

Next week in Paris, negotiations on a UN treaty on plastic pollution continue. But why are these talks so pivotal? And what is Unilever – as part of the Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty – asking governments to consider?

There’s clear evidence that plastic pollution is set to increase by 2040, but voluntary efforts to tackle it, so far, aren’t keeping pace with the problem. That’s why we need global action that gets to the root of the issue at the speed and scale required – and, ultimately, changes the way the world uses and recycles plastic.

The solution lies in reducing the production and use of plastic – especially fossil-fuel derived virgin plastic – and keeping all plastic that is produced in a circular economy and out of the environment.

At the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) in March 2022, 175 countries agreed to begin negotiations on a UN treaty on plastic pollution that aims to do just that.

The Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty

Unilever is a member of the Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty, which was convened by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) after UNEA to bring together businesses from different sectors, NGOs and other organisations across the plastics value chain to support the development of an ambitious and effective treaty.

The Business Coalition’s vision is a circular economy in which plastic never becomes waste or pollution, and the value of products and materials is retained in the economy. The belief is that a comprehensive circular economy approach can address the root causes of plastic pollution and contribute to the global efforts to combat the climate and biodiversity crisis, while delivering economic, environmental and social benefits.

More than 100 organisations have now joined the Business Coalition, from brand owners like Unilever through to retailers, financial institutions, packaging producers and waste management companies. As the treaty negotiations continue, we hope to recruit even more organisations, uniting industry under a common purpose.

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