Solving the challenge of plastic waste on the environment

On 31 January 2018, Business in the Community joined HRH The Prince of Wales and his International Sustainability Unit to discuss the challenge of plastic in the ocean.

The impact of plastic waste on the environment, wildlife and human health has been brought to life by Sky’s Ocean Rescue Campaign and the TV series Blue Planet 2 over recent weeks and months. There is now a huge public appetite to make a difference.The discussion with HRH clearly demonstrated that progress has been made over the last year. Businesses are making commitments to ensure their plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025 and initiatives from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Wrap and Common Seas all providing ways to support business action.

But in the year since an initial discussion with business and NGO leaders, 12 million tonnes of plastic waste has entered the ocean[1].  So, as Business in the Community Chief Executive Amanda Mackenzie asked, can we do more and faster? She outlined several key drivers that can help accelerate change:

  • Getting the carrots and sticks right at all levels.

  • Helping the investor community understand the challenge and the future risks it poses for their assets.

  • Harnessing the power of influential actors across value chains to drive change.

  • The business community to provide support, tools and inspiration to help SMEs, employees, schools and community groups be champions in the places where they live and work.

Having gone to the roundtable following a meeting of Business in the Community’s Environment Leadership Team, we were delighted to be able to commit to developing a new campaign at Business in the Community, one that harnesses the power of The Prince’s Responsible Business Network to support the initiatives already in play. These are to help businesses and communities understand what good looks like and mobilise for a common cause - locally, nationally and globally. We have agreed to reconvene the group in another 12 months’ time and are looking forward to reporting on a year of even more substantial progress.

For more information and to get involved in developing Business in the Community's campaign, please contact Gudrun Cartwright, Environment Director: Gudrun.cartwright@bitc.org.uk or call 07718792226.