The beginning of this year saw the launch of a new organisation to develop solutions to eliminate plastic waste in the environment, especially in the oceans. The new global alliance, Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), will commit over $1 billion to help end plastic waste and has set a target of investing $1.5 billion. The Alliance membership represents global companies in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The Alliance will develop and bring to scale solutions that will minimise and manage plastic waste and promote solutions for used plastics by enabling a circular economy. It is a not-for-profit organisation and includes companies that make, use, sell, process, collect and recycle plastics, such as chemical and plastic manufacturers, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, and waste-management companies. The Alliance has been working with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development as a founding strategic partner.

The initial set of projects and collaborations covers the following:

  • Partnering with cities to design integrated waste-management systems in large urban areas, especially those along rivers which transport vast amounts of plastic waste from land to the ocean or are located in high plastic-leakage areas
  • Funding The Incubator Network by Circulate Capital to develop and promote technologies, business models and entrepreneurs in this field. The intention is to create a pipeline of projects for investment with an initial focus on Southeast Asia
  • Developing an open-source global information project to support waste-management projects with reliable data collection, metrics, standards, and methodologies to help governments, companies and investors
  • Collaborating with intergovernmental organisations such as the United Nations to conduct joint workshops and trainings for government officials and community leaders
  • Supporting Renew Oceans to aid localised investment and engagement. The Renew Oceans programme is designed to capture plastic waste before it reaches the ocean from the 10 major rivers that carry the vast majority of land-based waste to the ocean

AEPW will make additional investments in four key areas:

  • Infrastructure development to collect and manage waste and increase recycling
  • Innovation to advance and scale new technologies
  • Education and engagement of governments, businesses and communities
  • Clean up of concentrated areas of plastic waste in the environment

CB’s questions on the current status of the proposed projects, specific goals and targets, and governance model went unanswered.

In a press release, David Taylor, chairman of the Board, president and CEO of Procter & Gamble, and chairman of AEPW, said, ‘This new alliance is the most comprehensive effort to date to end plastic waste in the environment. I urge all companies, big and small and from all regions and sectors, to join us.’

‘History has shown us that collective action and partnerships between industry, governments and NGOs can deliver innovative solutions to a global challenge like this,’ said Bob Patel, CEO of LyondellBasell, and vice chairman of AEPW. ‘The issue of plastic waste is seen and felt all over the world. It must be addressed and we believe the time for action is now.’

The following companies are the founding members of the Alliance: BASF, Berry Global, Braskem, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC, Clariant, Covestro, Dow, DSM, ExxonMobil, Formosa Plastics Corporation USA, Henkel, LyondellBasell, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, Mitsui Chemicals, NOVA Chemicals, OxyChem, PolyOne, Procter & Gamble, Reliance Industries, SABIC, Sasol, SUEZ, Shell, SCG Chemicals, Sumitomo Chemical, Total, Veolia, and Versalis (Eni). From India, Reliance Industries is leading its efforts.