The Global Commitment 2021
Led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme, the...
Ellen MacArthur Foundation and UN Environment Programme publish second progress report on the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment
Report shows that while progress has been made between 2018 and 2019, much more must be done, and at greater speed, to achieve the 2025 targets and tackle plastic pollution
Substantial differences in progress between signatories – some have taken big steps forward, however others have shown little to no progress against quantitative targets.
Report sets out calls to action for businesses and governments - including the need for ambitious reduction targets, and the creation of an international framework on plastic pollution.
Thursday, November 5, 2020
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) have today (Thursday, November 5) published their second annual New Plastics Economy Global Commitment Progress report, together with detailed data on the progress of individual business and government signatories.
The Global Commitment 2020 Progress Report shows there has been significant progress in two key areas: the incorporation of recycled content in plastic packaging, and the phase out of the most commonly identified problematic items, such as PS and PVC packaging, undetectable carbon black pigments and single-use plastic bags and straws.
However, there has been limited progress on increasing recyclabilityThe ease with which a material can be recycled in practice and at scale. of plastic packaging and on reducing the need for single-use packaging altogether: progress on shifting towards reusable packaging is limited, and elimination efforts remain focused on a relatively small set of materials and formats.
There are also significant differences in the rate of progress between signatories – while some have taken big steps forward, others have shown little to no progress against quantitative targets.
It is encouraging to see initial progress being made by signatories in year one after signing the Global Commitment, but a substantial acceleration of progress will be needed to achieve the 2025 targets.
"This report shows that leading governments are taking action, in particular on addressing some of most commonly identified problematic items, but increasingly also through the deployment of more comprehensive policy approaches, for example combining extended producer responsibility, fiscal incentives and public procurement policies. We call on all governments to follow their lead, and come together at the global level, through the UN Environment Assembly, to work on an international framework for action, building on the vision for a circular economyA systems solution framework that tackles global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution. It is based on three principles, driven by design: eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials (at their highest value), and regenerate nature. for plastic.” said Ligia Noronha, Director of UNEP’s Economy Division.
Recycled content in plastic packaging grew by 22% year on year, to 6.2% on average for packaged goods and retail signatories.
31% of packaged goods and retail signatories — 18 in total — now have targets in place to reduce virgin plastic in packaging or reduce plastic packaging altogether.
Elimination efforts remain focused on a relatively small set of materials and formats, and are being delivered primarily through substitution towards other plastics or paper, or lightweighting (often by reducing thickness, for example), rather than by reducing the need for single-use packaging altogether
Reusable packaging increased marginally from the prior year (by 0.1 percentage points) and remains low at 1.9% for packaged goods and retail signatories, while we do see a further increase in reuseThe repeated use of a product or component for its intended purpose without significant modification. pilotting activity.
Substantial investments towards achieving the 2025 targets have been reported, bringing the total amount publicly committed by Global Commitment signatories to more than USD 10 billion.
We see substantial differences in progress between signatories – while some have taken big steps forward, others have shown little to no progress against quantitative targets
Sander Defruyt, New Plastics Economy lead at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, said: “This report shows encouraging progress towards the vision for a circular economy for plastic in some areas, particularly in the use of recycled plastic. But, going forward it will be crucial to also see major steps forward in rethinking what packaging is put on the market in the first place. We are calling on industry to rapidly increase efforts to reduce single-use packaging and eliminate packaging types that have no credible pathway to making recycling work in practice and at scale. We know industry cannot deliver the change alone, and we are calling on policymakers to put in place the enabling conditions, incentives and international framework to accelerate this transition.“
Based on these findings, The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and UN Environment Programme have made four calls to action that are vital to eradicating plastic pollution:
We call on businesses to:
Take bold action on packaging types that are not recyclable today — either developing and executing a credible roadmap to make recycling work, or decisively innovating away from them
Set ambitious reduction targets
Recognising that voluntary action by industry alone cannot deliver change on the scale and at the pace needed, we call on governments to
Establish policies and mechanisms, that provide dedicated and stable funding for collection and sorting, through fair industry contributions, such as EPR, without which recycling is unlikely to ever scale
Set a global direction and create an international framework for action, through the UN Environment Assembly, building on the vision for a circular economy for plastics
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About the Global Commitment
The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment is led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The Ellen MacArthur Foundation leads the engagement with the private sector (the business signatories and endorsers), and UNEP leads the engagement with the governments. Launched in October 2018, the Global Commitment now unites more than 500 organisations behind a common vision of a circular economy for plastic, in which it never becomes waste or pollution. To help make this vision a reality, all business and government signatories have committed to ambitious 2025 targets. They are working to eliminate the plastic items we don’t need; innovate so all plastics we do need are designed to be safely reused, recycled, or composted; and circulate everything we use to keep it in the economy and out of the environment.
The vision is defined by six key points:
Elimination of problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging through redesign, innovation, and new delivery models is a priority
Reuse models are applied where relevant, reducing the need for single-use packaging
All plastic packaging is 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable
All plastic packaging is reused, recycled, or composted in practice
The use of plastic is fully decoupled from the consumption of finite resources
All plastic packaging is free of hazardous chemicals, and the health, safety, and rights of all people involved are respected
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a UK-based charity, develops and promotes the idea of a circular economy in order to tackle some of the biggest challenges of our time, such as plastic pollution, climate change, and the loss of biodiversity. We work with, and inspire, business, academia, policymakers, and institutions to mobilise systems solutions at scale, globally. In a circular economy, business models, products, and materials are designed to increase use and reuse, creating an economy in which nothing becomes waste and everything has value. Increasingly built on renewable materialsMaterials that are continually replenished at a rate equal to or greater than the rate of depletion., and underpinned by a shift to renewable energyEnergy derived from resources that are not depleted on timescales relevant to the economy, i.e. not geological timescales., a circular economy is distributed, diverse, and inclusive.
The UN Environment Programme is the leading global voice on the global environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. The UN Environment Programme works with governments, the private sector, civil society and with other UN entities and international organisations across the world.
Led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme, the...
Published on 21st September 2022
At the heart of the New Plastics Economy is a vision of a circular economy for plastic in which it...
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation works to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. We develop and promote the idea of a circular economy, and work with business, academia, policymakers, and institutions to mobilise systems solutions at scale, globally.
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