Collaboration between international NGOs coordinates efforts to tackle plastic pollution ahead of Global Treaty to End Plastic Pollution

The World Economic Forum’s Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP), the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Plastics Initiative and international climate action NGO WRAP – organisations leading work reducing the impacts of plastics – have joined forces to drive forward global action on plastics through greater knowledge exchange.

The three organisations, which share a common vision for a circular economy for plastics, have each been running national level initiatives since 2018, which now span more than twenty countries. By working more closely together, they will be sharing learnings and best practices on a regular basis, helping to accelerate efforts to tackle plastic pollution.

The move comes well in advance of the incoming International legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution to help prepare the groundwork and ready many more nations for the seismic shift in the way plastic is produced and used – expected when the treaty begins.

Negotiations for the Plastics Treaty started last November and, once adopted by mid-2025, it will create an unprecedented pressure on country level public and private stakeholders to assess their plastic use and design pathways for addressing pollution. The new knowledge exchange network will bring together individual Plastics Pacts and National Plastic Action Partnerships (NPAP) to share crucial information to support their delivery plans.

This groundbreaking collaboration uniting programmes from different organisations in a shared network allows those taking action on the ground to have access to best practices from all over the world, through a pre-competitive mindset. These include private-sector action to meet reduction, reuse and recyclability targets and for national baseline assessment and scenario modelling tools – as well as support for the development of national action plans and financing roadmaps. Those taking real action to address plastic pollution will be able to share information and expertise, encompassing both business action and policy change, to accelerate their work for the benefit of everyone.

The knowledge exchange network aims to accelerate the transition to a circular economy in several geographies. It has the potential to demonstrate that a system change solution to address plastic pollution is possible and help inform where ambitious global and domestic policy are crucial to advance.

 There are currently thirteen Plastics Pacts around the world – ANZPAC (Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island), Canada, Chile, Europe, France, India, Kenya, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, the UK and the US – and a new Pact in development in Colombia. In addition, there are National Plastic Action Partnerships, (developed by the World Economic Forum under the GPAP project) in Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan, Maharashtra (India), Nigeria, Ghana, Ecuador, South Africa and Mexico City (Mexico).

The knowledge exchange network brings together key stakeholders across sectors to implement solutions towards a circular economy for plastics tailored to each geography. Each initiative convenes businesses, government institutions and civil society, NGOs, and citizens to build behind a shared vision based on the following principles:

  • Inform decision-making based on robust evidence, harmonized metrics, and best practice.
  • Ensure an inclusive approach that engages perspectives from the entire plastic value chain, including vulnerable communities such as women and informal sector workers.
  • Boost innovation and enable financing solutions to scale plastic action.
  • Transform behaviours that promote new consumption and production models.

To eliminate plastic pollution, the network promotes solutions that:

  • Eliminate unnecessary and problematic plastic packaging.
  • Move from single-use to reuse.
  • Ensure all plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable, or compostable.
  • Increase the reuse, collection, and recycling or composting of plastic packaging.
  • Increase recycled content in plastic packaging

The three organisations expect the network to become a key catalyst for action, and a crucial demonstrator of how transition will happen globally.

Kristin Hughes, Director, Global Plastic Action Partnership; Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum said, “Tools and methodologies for building and implementing national action plans to tackle plastic pollution are being deployed across a range of pioneering countries today. Collaboration with our global partners will enable a growing number of countries to tap into the required insights and capabilities to meaningfully engage in the treaty process, promote an ambitious negotiation outcome, and prepare for subsequent implementation.”

Andrew Morlet, CEO, Ellen MacArthur Foundation said, “These three organisations are leading global efforts to create plastics systems that work, and which eliminate plastics pollution. As policymakers work towards designing a global treaty to bring plastics into the circular economy, collaboration of like minded stakeholders is more important than ever. The creation of this new platform allows further exchange of best practices at a local level and the demonstration of real change on the ground, which can be critical to support an ambitious Treaty development.”

Richard Swannell, Interim CEO WRAP, said “WRAP created the world’s first Plastics Pact jointly with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and is working with partners around the world on a variety of Pacts. Bringing our experience together with that of the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation means we can accelerate, expand, and enrich work underway in more than twenty countries. And bring even more countries on board. We know that nations often face the same challenges, so by sharing learnings we can accelerate progress and strengthen the ambitions of the Global Treaty with real action on the ground, in a significant and growing network of countries.”

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