South Africa: South Africa Hosts First In-Person Meeting of Plastics Pacts Network

The first ever meeting of the international members of the Plastics Pact Network  convened in South Africa this week, with delegates from around the world meeting in Cape Town. The inaugural three-day intensive programme is a chance for all to share experiences and knowledge to accelerate critical work reducing the global impact of plastic waste, and pollution.

Representatives from twelve of the thirteen  Plastics Pact Network  members  – convened by the  Ellen MacArthur Foundation  and  WRAP  – attended from Australia (representing New Zealand and four Pacific Islands), Canada, Chile, Colombia, India, Kenya, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, the UK, and the USA.

The public/private partnership model or voluntary agreement, adopted by many nations ahead of the United Nations Global Treaty to end plastic pollution, drives practical action around a comprehensive plastics’ circular economy approach that embeds elimination and reuse within measurable targets. Each Pact is working independently across the packaging value chain in its own geography to bring together key players to address its own unique situation.

Pact members include major FMCG brands, packaging companies, producers, traders, processors, academia, trade associations, NGOs, and governments who are all working towards a shared vision, with business signatories measured against a series of science-based targets to reduce the impact they have on the environment through their use of plastics. The Network connects those individual national and regional initiatives to better implement solutions towards a circular economy for plastic.

More than 800 major businesses are signed up to all thirteen Plastics Pacts with the combined population impacted by their work estimated to be in the region of as many as 2.4 billion people, or 30% of the world’s population. Today’s meeting was the first time the majority had sat down to share their learnings in person, with WRAP’s  CEO Harriet Lamb  opening the inaugural meeting.

Harriet Lamb  said “With plastic in the bloodstreams of animals and fish , we need to ramp up action on plastics across the world through regulation and voluntary action. We welcome the Global Plastics Treaty negotiations underway and call for an ambitious Treaty. Alongside that, we need to  fast-track collaborative action  by companies, governments, and civil society . Th at is th e power of this voluntary network , bringing together members from across the world to share best practice – from major companies to waste-pickers to b ring about practical, empowering change.” 

Whilst regulation is critical, public/private partnerships delivered through the Plastics Pact model accelerate action and deliver tangible results. These collaborative partnerships can play a key role as a mechanism for nations to meet mandated obligations under the United Nations Global Treaty to End Plastic Pollution.

The All-Plastic Pacts workshop will share best practices, insights, and experiences of what works in terms of member engagement, collaborative projects, and policy influence to achieve impact on the ground. It will identify approaches to accelerate progress within each country, with all at varying stages in their journey. The three-day workshop will also explore the future ambition of the Network and how it can have more impact.

The meeting will also begin important preparations for the first global report across the entire Pact Network, which will present the impact achieved by all thirteen Plastics Pacts. This report will be published in preparation for the next round of INC4 discussions for the Global Plastics Treaty framework, taking place in Ottawa this April.


Notes to editor  

·        The UK Plastics Pact , which launched in 2018, is the very first Plastics pact and is recognised as an exemplar model replicated across in the global Plastics Pact network.

·         WRAP  is a climate action NGO working around the globe to tackle the causes of the climate crisis and give the planet a sustainable future. We believe that our natural resources should not be wasted and that everything we use should be re-used and recycled. We bring together and work with governments, businesses, and individuals to ensure that the world’s natural resources are used more sustainably. Our work includes:  UK Plastics Pact ,  Courtauld Commitment 2030 ,  Textiles 2030  and the campaigns  Love Food Hate Waste  and  Recycle Now . We run  Food Waste Action Week  and  Recycle Week .