The Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty, representing over 170 leading companies and organisations working across the plastics value chain, was formed in September 2022 to give confidence to the negotiating UN Member States that businesses and financial institutions recognise the importance of this treaty to drive system change to end plastic pollution.
We took part in the third meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-3) in Nairobi to advocate for governments to advance negotiations on the zero draft text for a Global Plastics Treaty and agree on a programme for intersessional work to maintain momentum towards the planned adoption of the treaty in 2025.
Our vision recognises the importance of reducing plastic production and use through a circular economy approach, focusing on plastics with high-leakage rates, that are short-lived, and/or are made using fossil-based virgin resources.
A significant majority of countries support moving forward with a comprehensive and robust treaty and we applaud their efforts in these challenging negotiations. However, we are concerned by attempts to narrow the scope of the treaty text to focus only on downstream measures. We need action across the entire plastics value chain, and specifically upstream solutions such as: elimination of problematic plastic materials and chemicals of concern, better product design, and scaling of reuse and refill systems. These measures are essential, as we know that recycling and waste management alone are not a viable approach to stop plastic pollution.
We were disappointed to see a proliferation of alternative text proposals during this round of negotiations, including calls for the deletion of key provisions related to primary plastic polymers, identification of chemicals and polymers of concern, as well as problematic and avoidable plastic products. The lack of agreement on any intersessional work may cause further delays to the negotiation process, which we cannot afford with the limited time left.
Businesses respond to regulatory certainty. Despite this INC not advancing discussions on critical issues, we are encouraged to see the large majority of UN Member States calling for strong legally binding provisions over the full life-cycle of plastics. We urge governments to conduct at least informally further consultations ahead of the next round of negotiations at INC-4 in April 2024. We stand ready to work alongside committed parties and observers in this next stage of developing an ambitious and effective Global Plastics Treaty.