A voluntary initiative to drive corporate action toward solutions on plastic leakage

New Delhi: The Un-Plastic Collective (UPC) is a voluntary, multi-stakeholder initiative to eliminate plastic pollution in nature and move towards a circular economy, where no materials are wasted, through corporate commitments, translating into meaningful and measurable action. The Collective was launched by UN-Environment Program-India, CII and WWF-India at CII’s Sustainability Summit, held in Delhi today.
Globally, over 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced since the early 1950s and about 60% of that has ended up in landfills or in the natural environment. India generates 9.46 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, of which 40%, remains uncollected; 43% is used for packaging, most of which is single-use.
Speaking on the occasion Mr. Jamshyd Godrej, Past President-CII and Chairman, Godrej & Boyce and President, WWF-India highlighted the externalities of plastics and the challenges it poses to the ecological balance. “UPC will bring together businesses, government, NGOs and civil society to focus efforts on collaborative approaches and maximize synergies to Un-plastic in a time-bound manner”, said Mr. Godrej.

India has also announced its commitment to eliminate all single-use plastic by 2022—one of the most ambitious targets in the world—across 60 countries that have made commitments to address this issue. Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi’s recent speech on the Independence Day and monthly radio show, on eliminating single use plastics has spurred significant momentum and action across multiple stakeholders. Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO Niti Aayog, stressed on the government’s massive push to remove single-use plastic, while the Indian Railways have also banned ‘Single Use Plastic’
Looking forward to the initiative’s success, UN India’s Resident Coordinator Ms Renata Lok-Dessallien said, “The world has become infested with plastics, most of which is non-biodegradable. This is ruining our health, our planet and the flora and fauna we share it with. India’s Government, private sector, civil society and people have taken this challenge by the horns. I have no doubt that India’s creativity, motivation, commitment and innate wisdom will find the solutions it needs to solve this challenge. But much remains to be done and we must all work together as there is no one quick fix.”

The UPC is a voluntary initiative. As part of this companies set time-bound, public targets* to:

Eliminate unnecessary use of plastic
Reuse and circulate plastics through the economy
Replace with sustainable alternative or recycled plastics
Turn commitments to meaningful, measurable action
Implement EPR and improvements in materials management and recovery
Undertake plastic incentivisation, baseline assessment**

“Our oceans are choking under plastic pollution, which is rapidly becoming one of the largest threats to marine species and mankind. UPC seeks to prioritise concerted action on solutions that are ambitious and sustainable”, said Mr. Ravi Singh, Secretary General & CEO, WWF-India.

The launch saw the presence of leading CEO’s and NGO’s. At the roundtable of CEO’s, organised during this event, chaired by Mr. Jamshyd Godrej, businesses expressed their aspirations from the Un-plastic Collective in the areas of collaborative actions, sharing innovative information, ultimately leading to policy advocacy.