The World Wildlife Fund’s ReSource: Plastic program released its third annual public report, Transparent 2022, revealing how some of the world’s largest brands are measuring up to their commitments to tackle the plastic waste crisis.
Examining the plastic footprints of ReSource Members Amcor, Colgate-Palmolive, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Keurig Dr Pepper, McDonald’s Corporation, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, and The Coca-Cola Company, the report reviewed progress from 2020 to 2021. Transparent 2022 also includes baseline data for CVS Health, a new Member this year. Among the year-over-year findings for legacy Members were positive incremental improvements across aspects of their supply chains including an overall reduction of problematic plastics by 3,100 metric tons, and a 35% increase in the use of recycled content. Moreover, in the past year, ReSource Members have taken critical actions to support the widescale adoption of reuse systems while advocating to advance a global plastic treaty and investing in innovative solutions and business models to support the transition to circularity.
However, despite this progress, the total tonnage of plastic produced by these companies increased by 5.3% in 2021, due in part to a rebound in volumes after pandemic-related declines. More context exploring these findings, including probable causes, impacts and next steps is available here. The report highlights the progress across Member companies ‘beyond their supply chain’ activities, which are efforts not necessarily reflected in the annual plastic portfolio results, but instead, is a direct response to the data-driven recommendations made in previous Transparent reports.
“ReSource members are taking their plastic waste footprint seriously and being transparent about how they are working to address it. Measurement and data sharing are critical first steps. The next, more challenging step is ramping up the pace of progress,” said Erin Simon, Vice President and Head of Plastic Waste and Business at World Wildlife Fund. “There is a path forward. This will be difficult but it’s still very possible to meet our goals. The investments we’re seeing beyond the supply chain are a good example of the ambition I want to see in all areas, and they will continue to accelerate the systems change we need to solve the global plastics crisis.”
While companies can and should continue to accelerate progress in their own direct supply chains, the report stresses the importance of continuing advocacy for systemic change. Policy changes at local, regional, national, and international levels can help Members achieve higher rates of recycled content, materials recovery, and reduce mismanagement. These considerations must be part of each company’s holistic plastic portfolio to maximize their individual efforts.
ReSource was launched in 2019 with the goal of tapping into the potential for 100 companies to prevent up to 50M metric tons of plastic waste by closing the “how” gap for corporate action on the plastic waste crisis. The Transparent reporting series is the primary reporting tool to support ReSource’s effort to close this gap by helping companies measure, maximize, and multiply their potential for impact on the plastic waste crisis. Through an innovative measurement framework that examines year-over-year changes in ReSource Members’ plastic footprints, this annual publication provides recommendations for action that has the potential to catalyze systems-change, both internal to company supply chains and across wider multi-stakeholder efforts.