Humanity is more aware than ever of its own impacts on the environment, given increased exposure to information in a modern media landscape. The most recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) numbers revealed that Americans produce over four pounds of trash per day, per person. Increasingly, consumers are concerned with living more mindfully and sustainably where possible. As evidenced in a 2018 report by Nielsen, 81 per cent of global consumers surveyed feel strongly that companies should help improve the environment. With media reports attesting to the impact of synthetic materials on our planet (for example with the growing Great Pacific Garbage Patch), consumers have expressed concern with the overuse of synthetics in our day to day lives. Many businesses globally have pledged to lessen their environmental impact by reducing the use of non-renewable materials in their products, including companies like Samsung, Wal Mart, and Ikea. Click Read More below for additional detail.
Stora Enso has joined the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment to eliminate plastic waste and pollution at the source. The Global Commitment and its vision for a circular economy for plastic is led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in collaboration with UN Environment.
For Stora Enso, signing the commitment is another step to combat the global problem of plastic pollution by providing renewable alternatives. Stora Enso will contribute by cooperating with customers and suppliers to develop circular and low carbon solutions to replace plastic packaging. The materials are based on wood fibres from sustainably managed forests and plantations. This commitment is an example of the increasing demand for alternatives to plastic, also demonstrated by the EU’s recent policy on single-use plastics.
“Stora Enso operates at the heart of the circular bioeconomy and we collaborate with customers and partners to create a sustainable future with less plastics,” says Karl-Henrik Sundström, CEO of Stora Enso. “We have, for example, developed a renewable, biodegradable drinking straw to replace the traditional plastic straw, and our mouldable biocomposites help reduce the amount of plastic in products.”
The Global Commitment and its vision for a circular economy for plastics are supported by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). It has also been endorsed by the World Economic Forum, The Consumer Goods Forum (a CEO-led organisation representing some 400 retailers and manufacturers from 70 countries), and 40 universities, institutions, and academics.
Moreover, more than fifteen financial institutions with in excess of USD 4 trillion in assets under management have endorsed the Global Commitment and over USD 200 million has been pledged by five venture capital funds to create a circular economy for plastic.
The Global Commitment aims to create “a new normal” for plastic packaging. Commitments and targets will be reviewed every 18 months, and become increasingly ambitious over the coming years. Businesses that sign the commitment will publish annual data on their progress to help drive momentum and ensure transparency.