Jan 17, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Leading brands demand global treaty to cut plastic production

This photo taken on May 19, 2018 shows plastic waste on a garbage-filled beach on the Freedom island critical habitat and ecotourism area near Manila.
Photo: Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images

Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Unilever and Ikea were among over 70 brands on Monday to issue a joint statement calling for a global treaty to fight plastic pollution that would include reducing production of the material.

Why it matters: The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2) that begins next month will see government officials gather to begin talks next month on a treaty on plastic pollution — "a key growth area for the oil industry," per Reuters.

  • It's not clear whether negotiations would see tougher action on the management of waste and recycling — which would "likely face resistance from big oil and chemical firms and major plastic-producing countries," including the U.S., Reuters notes.

What they're saying: "We are at a critical point in time to establish an ambitious UN treaty that fosters collaboration for systemic solutions and speeds up the transition to a circular economy globally," the brands argue in their statement.

  • "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."

By the numbers: A November study found the world had generated over 8 million tons of pandemic-related plastic waste, with more than 25,000 tons of plastic polluting the world's oceans since the COVID-19 outbreak began.

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