Wil Sillen's post

Wil Sillen

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Appeal to large investors: 'Stop with those mountains of plastic now'
By: Sebastian Maks
The use of plastic packaging material must be reduced significantly, 183 major investors now also say. In a joint plea, they call on a group of companies to reduce their plastic consumption and to stop getting in the way of legislation. Now there must be a constructive discussion. The Association of Investors for Sustainable Development facilitates this.

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We will have thrown away more single-use plastics globally by 2021 than ever before. That was the conclusion of the most recent Plastic Waste Makers Index. Every minute, the equivalent of a truckload of plastic waste disappears into oceans. Not only does this have disastrous consequences for the environment, the use of plastic in 2021 also led to CO2 emissions equivalent to those of the whole of the United Kingdom. A coalition of international investors is therefore raising the storm ball and making an urgent appeal to companies.

Joint letter to companies
Reduce plastic emissions and stop lobbying against plastic-specific legislation, is the message from 183 large-scale investors. They also urge to recycle more plastic and to look for plastics without hazardous chemicals. They address their plea, a jointly signed letter, to 36 consumer goods and supermarket chains. Examples include Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Ahold Delhaize. The letter was coordinated by the Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO). “The investors have sent a clear signal,” says Freek van Til, project manager at VBDO. “See it as the kick-off for a discussion between all parties. As VBDO we facilitate the platform for that discussion.”
Legislation coming
The coalition of investors - consisting of asset managers, insurers and pension funds, among others - is jointly responsible for a portfolio of almost ten trillion euros. Part of this concerns investments in the companies to which the call is addressed. The coalition does not see things ending well for the companies concerned if they continue on the same footing.

“Investors are concerned about the long-term value creation of companies if they do not adjust their operations,” says Van Til. “That is, if they continue to stick to single-use plastics and do not map out which chemicals are used for this.” He indicates that companies will have to comply with a lot of relevant legislation regarding plastic and packaging waste in the future. “If companies are not ready for that, it could cause problems for them.”

No hard consequences yet
The investors do not yet link any consequences to any failure to follow their advice. “The letter is not offensive. It is intended to implement constructive improvements,” says Van Til. But he does emphasize that there is work to be done and that the companies will have to get to work. If not: “then you can still move on to more aggressive ways of communication.”


  • Evangeline Wanjiru

    2 w

    We can do better for our planet

    • Tabitha Kimani

      2 w

      What a menace.

      • Harrison wambui

        2 w

        It should be burned and action to be taken

        • Rukia Ahmed Abdi

          2 w

          I support this move, private sector should swing to action in reducing the use of plastics on both production and packaging.

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