4 March, 2022
This week saw agreement on what could be the most significant multilateral environmental deal since the Paris Agreement on climate in 2015. The latest UNEP meeting held in Nairobi brought together members states to discuss, amongst other things, the terms of an international agreement to curb plastic pollution, which doubled between 2000 and 2019. And the outcomes haven’t disappointed.
175 countries have agreed to start working on internationally binding commitments that not only promote the circular economy, but also target absolute plastic waste reduction. They have agreed to including the full value chain of plastics: targeting not only upstream activities such as production or design, but also downstream activities too, such as the end-of-life management of plastic waste.
What might this mean for us? Perhaps after 2024 the slow push to reduce plastics in supermarkets will accelerate which would mean a 10,300 tonne reduction of plastic per year in supermarkets as well as a 100,000 tonne reduction in food waste, just by removing plastic packaging.
Treaty negotiations start immediately, with a planned binding treaty to be ready by 2024. For some this may seem far away, but with so many different countries with competing interests and capabilities, its remains to be seen just how quickly we will be able to get it over the line… But with bad news all around, we are excited and will hold on to this victory!
By Marie Guérinet