UN Treaty

We call for UN member states to commit to the development of a UN treaty on plastic.

In a joint report, The Business Case for a UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution, WWF, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Boston Consulting Group, set out the opportunity for a new global UN treaty on plastic pollution.

To significantly accelerate progress towards a circular economy for plastic, there is an urgent need to amplify current efforts, through a more coordinated and ambitious approach. The Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment and Plastics Pact network, are working examples of where this collaboration is currently taking place.

A common structure would set a clear direction and conditions, giving governments and businesses the impetus to move forward more decisively.

A global agreement setting out global goals and binding targets, together with national action plans and consistent measurement, is needed to:

  • harmonise policy efforts
  • enhance investment planning
  • stimulate innovation
  • coordinate infrastructure development.

While voluntary initiatives can deliver change among market leaders, an international binding approach will deliver the necessary industry scale change.

Based on the report, major businesses issued a call on the 13th October for a UN treaty on plastic pollution to address the fragmented landscape of regulation and complement existing voluntary measures.

Alongside almost 2 million people also calling for a treaty, more than two-thirds of the UN member states, from across the world, have officially declared that they are open to considering the option of a new global agreement, including African, Baltic, Caribbean, Nordic and Pacific states, as well as the European Union.

A resolution to start negotiations on such a treaty is expected to be tabled at the upcoming 5th Session of the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA5) in February 2021. The Assembly recognised plastic pollution as a global problem, and a 2017 UNEA mandated examination concluded that the existing international legal framework governing plastic pollution is ineffective.

Both the report and business manifesto stress the urgent need to develop and adopt a new global treaty as soon as possible.

WWF, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and BCG are urging more companies to join the call at www.plasticpollutiontreaty.org.