A circular plastics economy in Japan, Ghanaian leadership on a plastic pollution treaty, and more

Blog   March 4, 2021

FEBRUARY 2021
« Your monthly briefing on plastic waste and pollution impact around the world »

If you only have 5 minutes, read this:

  • Japan’s potential as a regional circular economy leader: GPAP was delighted to take part in the Japan Regional Roundtable on Circular Economy, a virtual summit co-organized by the World Economic Forum and the Government of Japan. Our special thanks to partners Tomomi Fukumoto, Executive Officer at Suntory Holdings; Mayumi Tsuryu, Executive Officer at Seven & I Holdings; Yashovardhan Lohia, Executive Director at Indorama Ventures; and Miyoko Tanaka, President at Coca-Cola Japan for a dynamic discussion on Japan’s leadership role in managing plastic waste and shaping a circular economy for materials. See major outcomes from the Roundtable here.
  • PACE issues Circular Economy Action Agenda: A “rallying call” for stakeholders across all sectors, the Action Agenda provides detailed guidance and resources for action in five crucial areas, including plastics.
  • Welcome to Gulipairi Maimaiti: Our newest team member is Gulipairi “Guly” Maimaiti, who has joined GPAP this month as Operations Specialist. Guly is a recent graduate of Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Business and a minor in French. Guly has also previously interned at Accenture and the World Economic Forum.

Latest Insights

Do you have 5 minutes to help improve the GPAP Plastics Knowledge Hub?

Have you tested out the interactive chat bot on the GPAP homepage, globalplasticaction.org? Officially named the GPAP Plastics Knowledge Hub, this small but mighty widget is contains over 500 high-quality resources on addressing plastic waste and pollution, developed by members of the global plastic action community over the past decade.

All this week, we are running a campaign to collect user feedback on the Plastic Knowledge Hub so that we can continue to improve its usability. Please take a moment to visit the GPAP website and let us know what you think of this tool.

Indonesia’s upstream innovation community is thriving – and ready to scale up

In emerging economies – which are bearing the brunt of our global plastic problem – upstream solutions like reuse and refill models are finding fertile ground and show promising potential.

In Indonesia, for instance, Enviu’s Zero Waste Living Lab is supporting ventures like Koinpack, a startup that partners with mom-and-pop shops and community waste banks to sell everyday products in refillable bottles, rather than single-use plastic sachets.

“We need to ensure that upstream initiatives find their place in the sun as soon as possible,” write Sri Indrastuti Hadiputranto, Chair of NPAP Indonesia; Tauhid Pandji, Venture Builder at Enviu; and William Handjaja, Associate at SYSTEMIQ.

(Photo credit: Koinpack)

UN-Habitat launchs Waste Wise Cities Tool

Reliable data and information on municipal solid waste generation and management can be hard to come by. The lack of data hinders the development of sustainable solid waste management strategies and constrains investment in infrastructure and service expansion, which in turn leads to insufficient or absent municipal solid waste management services in many locales.

To address this information gap in combatting plastic pollution, UN-Habitat released the promising Waste Wise Cities Tool last month. GPAP Engagement Lead Roisin Greene joined the launch to deliver remarks; watch the recording here.

Photo credit: UN-Habitat

PACE announces Circular Economy Action Agenda, illuminating how the world must transition toward circularity

The Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE) has issued the Circular Economy Action Agenda – a rallying call for businesses, governments, researchers, consumers and civil society to work together to accelerate the transition to a circular economy.

The Action Agenda focuses on five crucial areas for circularity: plastics; textiles; electronics; food; and capital equipment. View the Circular Action Agenda for Plastics here.

Photo credit: PACE

GPAP convenes first meeting of the Plastic Action Champions under 30

On 24 February, we brought together the inaugural cohort of the Plastic Action Champions. The young people, aged 18-29, dialled in from all corners of the world, including Indonesia and Ghana, where GPAP has an active presence through its national partnerships.

The Champions shared their ambitions for the year ahead, outlining goals ranging from mobilizing youth in their local community to advocating for legislation on plastic pollution at the national level. Supporting small and micro-enterprises in the recycling sector, particularly in light of the ongoing COVID crisis, also came up as a priority. As a next step, the Champions will have the opportunity to connect directly with members of the GPAP and NPAP community to identify opportunities for specific collaboration. The next meeting of the Plastic Action Champions will take place in Q2 2021.

NPAP Indonesia shares knowledge and progress at ASEAN dialogue on marine litter

On 24 February, NPAP Indonesia Chair Sri Indrastuti Hadiputranto represented the NPAP at the online workshop “Strengthening Capacity for Marine Debris Reduction and Waste Management in ASEAN Region through Knowledge Sharing on Marine Litter”, co-organized by the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Investment, Indonesia, and the Ministry of the Environment, Japan.

Speaking at a session on technology and innovation, Ibu Tuti addressed the practical challenges facing ASEAN Member Countries at the city level, as well as necessary actions to be taken by the private sector and the international community. More information is here.

Governments of Ghana, Germany and Ecuador to hold global meeting on marine plastic pollution

At the Fifth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly, the governments of Ghana, Germany and Ecuador committed to holding a joint meeting in Q3 2021 focused on establishing an international treaty for combatting marine plastic pollution. Says Eirik Lindebjerg, Global Plastic Policy Manager at WWF-International: “This meeting will provide an invaluable opportunity for countries to advance the development of this treaty, which already counts on the support of approximately 70 governments, 50 businesses and more than two million people who called for a global agreement which would establish common targets and national action plans to address marine plastic pollution.”

SAP: Building greater sustainability and climate resilience in West Africa

“The astonishing rate of urbanization will soon turn Africa’s main metropoles into the largest in the world,” writes Titilayo Adewumi, SAP Regional Sales Director for West Africa. “This population growth will challenge governments and policy-makers to radically rethink their sustainability efforts.”

In Ghana, SAP is partnering with the Ghana NPAP, the Government of Ghana, WIEGO and other collaborators to implement a pilot project aiming to support over 2,000 informal sector waste workers. The pilot project has kicked off in several cities across Ghana and has tremendous potential to expand throughout the region and continent – such as in Nigeria, the latest country to join GPAP.

Photo credit: SAP

India’s first digital ‘waste-commerce’ company joins World Economic Forum’s Circulars Accelerator Programme

Forging a path to a truly circular economy requires collaboration across the ecosystem – for instance, between multinationals with powerful resources and supply chains and small-scale innovators that use disruptive solutions to build new ways of working.

The Circulars Accelerator programme, led by Accenture in partnership with Anglo American, Ecolab and Schneider Electric and hosted by the World Economic Forum’s UpLink, has selected 17 circular economy pioneers for mentorship and collaboration with global companies. Among this group is Recykal, a ‘waste-commerce’ solutions provider that connects waste generators with processors, recyclers and brand owners. Recykal is also supported by an investment from GPAP member Circulate Capital.

NPAP Viet Nam supports global, national efforts on environmental action

From 8-11 February, NPAP Viet Nam Manager Trinh Thai Ha joined over 400 scientists in providing expert insight to the Global Environment Facility. To lay the groundwork for new phases of environmental action with clear, science-based objectives, GEF Chairperson and CEO Carlos Manuel Rodriguez (who also serves on the GPAP Governing Council) convened these experts to share their vision for a sustainable future by 2030.

NPAP Viet Nam also delivered remarks at the launch of the Viet Nam Zero Waste Alliance’s Vietnam Waste Assessment and Brand Audit Report 2018-2020, which captures significant data from a series of waste audits conducted in seven coastal areas. The report calls for drastic waste reduction measures and an immediate transition to a reuse-refill economy.

The unsung heroes of Viet Nam’s waste management sector: the role of gender equity in combatting plastic pollution

“Informal waste sector workers [in Viet Nam] are often part of vulnerable communities who occupy the lowest rung of the socioeconomic ladder. Often, they lack access to basic necessities like housing, healthcare and education. They are also often the most at risk of financial exclusion—operating without access to financial institutions, bank accounts, payment cards, mobile money or insurance.”

In a blog post for GPAP member Ocean Conservancy, Thao Ly, Deputy Director of the Center for Environment and Community Research (CECR), lays out ways in which we can support these community workers. For more information, take a look at CECR’s informal waste sector report.

Photo credit: CECR

“Businesses, consumers and investors are starting to pay attention to the circular economy”

“Getting rid of plastic waste requires more than landfills. It requires rethinking how we recycle, reuse and redesign products -- and manage the materials that go into making those products -- to cut down on waste in a way that also allows industry to thrive economically and boost opportunities.”

In an op-ed for the Bangkok Post, Rana Karadsheh-Haddad, regional industry director at the International Finance Corporation, writes about how the IFC’s blue loan to GPAP member Indorama Ventures will help the Thailand-based company quadruple its PET recycling capacity and eliminate 750,000 tonnes of plastic annually. “By supporting the development of a functional and profitable reusability infrastructure, we are hoping to encourage more companies to embrace circularity.”

UNCTAD paper highlights potential of trade policy to reduce plastic pollution

A new research paper from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), “Global Trade in Plastics: Insights from the First Life-cycle Trade Database”, strengthens evidence that trade policy will play a significant role in supporting international efforts to reduce plastic pollution, through mapping global trade flows across the entire life cycles of plastics.

“Such actions could help to tackle both marine plastic pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the plastics sector as well as environmental and health challenges across the life cycle of plastics, many of which disproportionately impact economically disadvantaged countries.”

More highlights from the #PlasticAction community

Footprint, a sustainable technology firm specializing in materials science engineering, has joined the World Economic Forum’s Global Innovator Community to collaborate with GPAP and several other platforms. We look forward to working together.

GPAP Director Kristin Hughes recently joined a panel discussion at the Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues, coordinated by GPAP member UNEP. Watch the recording.

NPAP Viet Nam seeks partners to take part in the Earth Hour 2021 campaign with WWF-Viet Nam, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade. For more info, contact vietnam@globalplasticaction.org.

Footprints Africa is seeking inspiring case studies of the circular economy at work across Africa, with the goal of collecting 500 case studies by the end of 2021. More here.

Events on the Horizon

4 March  |  Virtual Meeting

Financing Roundtable with HRH The Prince of Wales

Hosted by GPAP and the Sustainable Markets Initiative

 

March  |  Virtual Launch

Launch of the Indonesia NPAP Behaviour Change Task Force

Hosted by the Indonesia NPAP

 

March  |  Virtual Meeting

Meeting of the Ghana NPAP Expert Panel

Hosted by the Ghana NPAP

 

15-16 March  |  Virtual Conference

Plastics Innovation Hub Symposium

Hosted by CSIRO and supported by the Indonesia NPAP. Register here.

 

18 March  |  Virtual Meeting

Second Meeting of the Indonesia NPAP Metrics Task Force

Hosted by the Indonesia NPAP

 

Q2 2021  |  Virtual Meeting

Meeting of the GPAP Governing Council

Hosted by GPAP

 

17-20 August  |  Conference

Special Annual Meeting 2021 in Singapore
Hosted by the World Economic Forum

Engage with us

We’re always on the lookout for new and inspiring content, news and analysis, and upcoming events to feature in this newsletter. Please write to us at plasticaction@weforum.org to share updates that should be featured in the next edition.

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