As the issue of plastic waste continues to gain global notoriety, nearly 30 major global companies have committed over $1.0 billion to develop, deploy and bring to scale solutions to reduce and manage such waste, and to promote post-use solutions. The commitment comes in the form of a new group, Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW); the companies, which span the entire plastics value chain, expect to invest $1.5 billion over the next five years.
The alliance is being chaired by David Taylor, president and CEO of Procter & Gamble.
The issue of plastic waste is seen and felt all over the world, points out Bob Patel, CEO of LyondellBasell and VP of the new AEPW, and global attention is being paid to the issue. Last fall, for example, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation said it was working with 250 organizations around the world who signed New Plastics Economy Global Commitment to attempt to end the plastic waste problem.
Alliance to End Plastic Waste Welcomes the Big Players
In addition to Procter & Gamble, AEPW has drawn other big guns from across the value chain. Other founding companies – from throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East – include BASF, Berry Global, Braskem, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC, Clariant, Covestro, Dow, DSM, ExxonMobil, Formosa Plastics Corporation USA, Henkel, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, Mitsui Chemicals, NOVA Chemicals, OxyChem, PolyOne, Reliance Industries, SABIC, Sasol, SUEZ, Shell, SCG Chemicals, Sumitomo Chemical, Total, Veolia, and Versalis (Eni).
With participation from chemical and plastic manufacturers, consumer goods companies, retailers, converters, and waste management companies, the alliance membership has representation across the entire plastics value chain. The alliance has also been working with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development as a founding strategic partner.
In the months ahead, the alliance will make investments in four key areas:
- Infrastructure development to collect and manage waste and increase recycling;
- Innovation to advance and scale new technologies that make recycling and recovering plastics easier and create value from all post-use plastics;
- Education and engagement of governments, businesses, and communities to mobilize action; and,
- Clean up of concentrated areas of plastic waste already in the environment, particularly the major conduits of waste, like rivers, that carry land-based plastic waste to the sea.
Initial Projects Include…
Initial projects and collaborations include:
- Partnering with cities to design integrated waste management systems in large urban areas where infrastructure is lacking, especially those along the rivers that transport large amounts of plastic waste from land to the ocean.
- Funding The Incubator Network by Circulate Capital to develop and promote technologies, business models and entrepreneurs that prevent ocean plastic waste and improve waste management and recycling, with the intention of creating a pipeline of projects for investment; the initial focus area will be Southeast Asia.
- Developing an open source, science-based global information project to support waste management projects globally with reliable data collection, metrics, standards, and methodologies to help governments, companies, and investors accelerate actions to stop plastic waste from entering the environment.
- Creating a capacity building collaboration with intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations to conduct joint workshops and trainings for government officials and community leaders to help identify and pursue the most effective solutions.
- Supporting Renew Oceans to aid localized investment and engagement. The program is designed to capture plastic waste before it reaches the ocean from the ten major rivers shown to carry the vast majority of land-based waste to the ocean. The initial work will support the Renew Ganga project, which has also received support from the National Geographic Society.
The alliance will focus on collaboration and coordinated efforts across the value chain, working on projects focused on near-term progress as well as those that require major investments with longer timelines. “Addressing plastic waste in the environment and developing a circular economy of plastics requires the participation of everyone across the entire value chain and the long term commitment of businesses, governments, and communities. No one country, company or community can solve this on their own,” says Veolia CEO Antoine Frérot, a vice chairman of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste.