Unilever urges consumer goods industry to address ocean pollution

24 January 2018 (Last Updated January 24th, 2018 10:18)

UK firm Unilever has called for the consumer goods industry to augment its efforts to address the challenge of ocean plastic waste.

UK firm Unilever has called for the consumer goods industry to augment its efforts to address the challenge of ocean plastic waste.

Last year, the company revealed its plan to ensure 100% of its plastic packaging is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

Waitrose, beverage company The Coca-Cola Company, and foodservice chain McDonald’s recently made individual commitments to tackle plastic pollution through long-term packaging initiatives.

“It is welcome news that many other major companies are making their own commitments to address ocean plastic waste.”

Unilever CEO Paul Polman urged more firms to join the battle against plastic leakage into the world’s natural systems, including waterways and oceans.

The company has also called for the creation of a circular economy for plastics.

Polman said: “It is welcome news that many other major companies are making their own commitments to address ocean plastic waste.

“Yet as a consumer goods industry, we need to go much further, much faster, in addressing the challenge of single-use plastics by leading a transition away from the linear take-make-dispose model of consumption, to one which is truly circular by design.”

As part of its recommendations for the industry, Unilever has urged companies to invest in innovation to pursue new delivery models that promote reuse.

Other recommendations include a commitment on behalf of individual firms to achieve 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025 and set stretching targets for using post-consumer recycled content.

The company also recommended the framing of definitions and industry standards under a Global Plastics Protocol to define what materials are put into the marketplace and ensure packaging is compatible with existing recycling infrastructures.

Unilever also urged companies to actively participate in policy discussions with governments to make improvements to waste management infrastructure.