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Big brands call for global pact to cut plastic production

01/16/2022 | 08:43pm EDT
FILE PHOTO: Serbia starts cleanup of its garbage lake

(Reuters) - International brands including Coca Cola and PepsiCo called on Monday for a global pact to combat plastic pollution that includes cuts in plastic production, a key growth area for the oil industry.

World officials will meet at a United Nations Environment Assembly conference (UNEA 5.2) later this year to start negotiations on a treaty to tackle a plastic waste crisis that is choking landfills, despoiling oceans and killing wildlife.

It remains unclear whether any deal will focus on waste management and recycling or take tougher steps such as curbing new plastic production, a move that would likely face resistance from big oil and chemical firms and major plastic-producing countries like the United States.

The more than 70 signatories to Monday's joint statement https://www.plasticpollutiontreaty.org/UNEA include consumer goods companies like Unilever and Nestle, which sell a myriad of products in single-use plastic from shampoo to chocolate bars, as well as retailer Walmart and French bank BNP Paribas.

"We are at a critical point in time to establish an ambitious U.N. treaty," the statement said, noting that any deal should "reduce virgin plastic production and use."

"UNEA 5.2 is the decisive, most auspicious moment to turn the tide on the global plastic pollution crisis. We cannot afford to miss it," the statement said.

Less than 10% https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/health-coronavirus-plastic-recycling of all the plastic ever made has been recycled, and a Reuters investigation last year https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/environment-plastic-oil-recycling revealed that new recycling technologies touted by the plastics industry have struggled to combat the problem.

Meanwhile, production of plastic, which is derived from oil and gas, is projected to double within 20 years. This is a key source of future revenue for energy majors, as demand for fossil fuels wanes with the rise of renewable energy and electric vehicles.

While scaling-up global recycling is critical to tackling plastic waste, these efforts will not prevent plastic pollution from continuing to skyrocket without constraints on production, a landmark 2020 study by Pew Charitable Trusts found.

As pressure mounts on firms that sell products in hard-to-recycle plastic to tackle the resulting waste, some have teamed up with cement makers to burn plastic waste as a cheap fuel in the developing world, a Reuters investigation found last year https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/environment-plastic-cement.

(Reporting by John Geddie and Joe Brock; Editing by Mark Potter)

By John Geddie and Joe Brock

© Reuters 2022
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BNP PARIBAS -0.84% 51.68 Real-time Quote.-14.96%
LONDON BRENT OIL 0.19% 114.3 Delayed Quote.44.68%
NESTLÉ S.A. 0.07% 114.74 Delayed Quote.-10.03%
ON SEMICONDUCTOR CORPORATION -2.49% 54.5 Delayed Quote.-19.76%
PEPSICO, INC. 1.34% 167.82 Delayed Quote.-3.39%
UNILEVER PLC 0.06% 3541 Delayed Quote.-10.25%
WALMART INC. 1.25% 124.13 Delayed Quote.-15.27%
WASTE MANAGEMENT 0.97% 157.6 Delayed Quote.-5.57%
WTI 0.07% 110.64 Delayed Quote.46.38%
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Sales 2022 48 600 M 52 146 M 52 146 M
Net income 2022 10 715 M 11 497 M 11 497 M
Net Debt 2022 - - -
P/E ratio 2022 5,85x
Yield 2022 7,69%
Capitalization 63 753 M 68 404 M 68 404 M
Capi. / Sales 2022 1,31x
Capi. / Sales 2023 1,37x
Nbr of Employees 190 000
Free-Float 86,5%
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