Ellen MacArthur Foundation to form coalition of leaders to create circular economy for plastics


  • The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is to create a new coalition of businesses and governments united behind a world-leading set of circular economy commitments tackling plastics waste

  • Underpinned by shared ambitions and definitions, and a high degree of transparency, this coalition will drive forward the vision of a circular economy for plastics set out by the Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative

  • Ellen MacArthur and Erik Solheim, UN Environment Executive Director, call for businesses and governments to get involved. Signatories and the detailed commitments will be unveiled later this year

  • The announcement follows commitments by the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, to tackle plastics pollution as part of the G7 Ocean Plastics Charter

A coalition of leading businesses and governments around the world is to be formed by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, uniting efforts to tackle the global plastics pollution crisis. Working towards ambitious commitments, underpinned by common definitions and a united vision for action, it will build on the momentum created by the Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative.

Due to be unveiled later this year, this new coalition will address the root causes of plastics pollution, not just the symptoms, by focussing on key principles:

  • Problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging is eliminated through innovation and new business models

  • All remaining plastic packaging is reused, recycled, or composted in practice

  • All plastic packaging is made from as much recycled content as possible and free from substances of concern

It will take to the next level the work of the New Plastics Economy initiative in rallying businesses and governments around the world behind a shared vision of a circular economy for plastics. The initiative has already guided national and international plastics strategies, and has recently worked with 14 leading international companies in their efforts to achieve 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable plastic packaging by 2025, and will now raise the ambition level even further.

Ellen MacArthur, founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, said: “Leaders in governments and businesses around the world have taken important steps to eradicate plastics waste. We will bring together all those who are committed to creating a better system. By uniting leaders behind a shared understanding and providing a platform for clear targets and commitments, we will pave the way for a system where plastics never become waste.”

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is working with UN Environment as it strives to accelerate a shift to sustainable consumption and production systems underpinned by circular economy principles, central to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This new coalition will drive forward that momentum.

United Nations Environment Executive Director Erik Solheim urged businesses and governments to step up and get involved.

He said: “UN Environment provides leadership and encourages partnerships across the globe in tackling marine pollution and making a circular economy for plastics a reality. The upcoming coalition announced today is at the forefront of such international efforts and reflects the type of action and collaboration needed to create positive change. We urge businesses and governments from around the world to step up as leaders and join this effort.”

The announcement follows the launch of the G7 Ocean Plastics Charter, in which five of the world’s largest economies and the European Union, set out their commitment to tackle plastics waste. Through its new coalition the New Plastics Economy initiative will ensure efforts to enable the circular economy are taken on a global scale, bringing together governments and businesses to significantly raise the ambition level.

Canadian environment minister Catherine McKenna said: “Plastic pollution is a massive problem around the world, and in Canada – it’s clogging our landfills, polluting our oceans and waterways, harming wildlife and putting people and communities at risk. That’s why the Government of Canada is taking action to reduce plastic pollution and support innovation at home, while championing global solutions through our G7 presidency. We are proud our efforts align with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation on tackling this global challenge, and we applaud their leadership in bringing businesses and governments together to reduce plastic pollution."

This is a major opportunity for businesses and governments to step forward as leaders in solving the plastics pollution crisis, and to be supported in achieving those ambitions. To be part of this unprecedented circular economy coalition, we encourage you to reach out to the New Plastics Economy team: