Over 20 leading financial institutions today announced their support for a global treaty on plastic pollution ahead of the UN ministerial conference on Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution taking place in Geneva on 1 – 2 September. The organisations* including Achmea Investment Management, Aviva Investors, BMO Global Asset Management, BNP Paribas Asset Management, Fidelity International, and The international business of Federated Hermes, join over 50 other companies, adding to the increasing chorus of concern about the spiraling plastic pollution crisis causing environmental and societal harm.
The organisations, which include insurance companies, pension funds, asset managers and banks, represent over €3 trillion in assets under management. They join some of the world’s biggest consumer brands across the plastic value chain, such as Unilever, Nestle and Coca-Cola, in backing the manifesto calling on governments to start negotiating a new global agreement on plastic pollution at the upcoming fifth Session of the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA5), saying “there is no time to waste.”
There are now over 100 UN member states formally calling for a treaty to address plastic pollution. The effort to advance a coherent global strategy to end marine litter and plastic pollution will take centre stage at the conference jointly organised by the governments of Ecuador, Germany, Ghana and Vietnam.
Rogier Krens, Chief Investment Officer, Achmea Investment Management said: “We need better global policy to solve the plastic pollution crisis. As signatories of the business manifesto, we want to send a strong signal to global policymakers that adequate regulation is needed to set a global and reliable regulatory level playing field. This is crucial to enable leading industries to develop and market alternatives to fossil fuel based plastics and end plastic pollution.”
Jenn-Hui Tan, global head of stewardship and sustainable investing, Fidelity International said: “The evidence is clear when it comes to the devastating impact plastic has on our environment, in particular its impact on marine biodiversity. In order to protect our future, we must act now to tackle plastic pollution. That’s why Fidelity International supports the call for a UN Treaty on plastic pollution; helping to drive the transition to a circular economy.”
Alongside these companies, over 2 million people around the world are also calling for a treaty. With recent announcements from key states such as Japan, there is now significant momentum behind the initiative. It is hoped that more countries will declare their support for the treaty at the Ministerial Conference this week.
In advance of the Ministerial Conference WWF and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation are releasing policy white papers today outlining the key success criteria and general elements that such a treaty should contain.
Andrew Morlet, CEO of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, said: “A UN treaty on plastic pollution is crucial to the creation of a circular economy for plastic, and now financial institutions too are urging governments to establish an international agreement. Setting a coherent international policy direction will support the delivery of commitments being made by leading global companies.”
Morlet continues: “A legally binding, global agreement will foster investment in infrastructure and circular economy solutions and help mitigate investment and financial risks associated with plastic pollution, including its role in climate change and biodiversity loss.”
Marco Lambertini, Director General at WWF International, said: “The growing number of companies calling for a treaty on plastic pollution sends a strong signal to UN member states that industry and civil society are united in wanting to see governments act decisively on this issue. The mounting plastic pollution crisis and its costs to people and the planet can no longer be ignored: it is a global problem that cannot be solved without the world uniting around coordinated global solutions and a common plan.”
The business manifesto calling for a treaty on plastic pollution is open to new signatories at www.plasticpollutiontreaty.org
* Full list of new signatories as follows: Achmea Investment Management, Actiam, Albizia, a.s.r. Asset Management, Aviva Investors, BMO Global Asset Management, BNP Paribas Asset Management, Bonafide Wealth, Boston Common Asset, Canada Post Corporation Pension Plan, DNB Asset Management, Ethical Partners, Federated Hermes, Fidelity International, Geroa Pentsioak, Khumo Capital, La Financière de l’Echiquier, La Française Asset Management, LGPS Central Limited, Robeco, Storebrand Asset, Sustainable Value Investors, Target Asset Management, Trinetra Investment Management