by Martina Fuchs
GENEVA, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- A coalition of major global businesses, financial institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on Wednesday called for a new global treaty to end plastic pollution.
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) International and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation announced in a joint statement that they have convened a new "Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty" of 83 organizations, which will form the basis for future policy engagement with governments.
It comes in the run-up to the first meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (INC), which will take place from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2 in Uruguay. The INC will develop an international, legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.
"The plastic crisis extends beyond all borders, impacting the health of our oceans and wildlife, and the livelihoods of people from major cities to small coastal communities. The scope and scale of this global issue must be met with equally ambitious solutions," said Erin Simon, WWF's vice president and head of plastic waste and business.
"We have no time to waste. The need for global coordination to tackle the plastic pollution crisis has never been more urgent," she said, adding that the Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty will "push strongly for a framework that leaves the business-as-usual approach at the door and ushers us into a new era where ending plastic pollution is finally within reach."
The organizations participating in the Business Coalition are pushing for "a global treaty to set common goals, rules and obligations that member states will be required to implement within their national jurisdictions", they said in a statement.
"Many companies and countries are already taking important steps to address plastic pollution, but voluntary action alone cannot reach the scale we need to urgently solve this crisis. An ambitious global plastics treaty is required," said Rob Opsomer from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
"This coalition will bring together businesses from across the plastics value chain to support the development of an ambitious and effective treaty, one that accelerates the transition to a circular economy and ensures the value of products and materials is not lost but retained. Plastic can no longer be allowed to become waste or pollution," Opsomer added.
Such rules and regulations would have an "undeniable impact on businesses that currently depend on plastic," the joint statement said. However, the Business Coalition shows that companies are willing to risk losing profit to avoid creating potentially lethal levels of pollution, it adds.
The companies involved include major multinationals such as Danone, Nestle, PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Company, IKEA, L'Oreal and Unilever.
On March 2 this year, at the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, 175 UN member states unanimously adopted a resolution to start negotiations on a new global treaty to end plastic pollution.
WWF and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation said this week that the treaty negotiation process, which is expected to conclude at the end of 2024, will largely determine the trajectory of the plastic pollution crisis for generations to come.
WWF International is an independent conservation organization based in Switzerland, with a global network active in nearly 100 countries and regions.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is an international charity that develops and promotes the circular economy in order to tackle major global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution. ■