Investors call for urgent action to reduce dependency on plastic
A group of 185 investors, including Dutch companies Achmea, Triodos, and PME Pensioenfonds, called for "urgent action" to reduce dependence on single-use plastic packaging, the Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO) said on Thursday. The appeal is primarily aimed at major plastic-consuming players in the food industry, such as Ahold Delhaize, the parent of Albert Heijn, as well as Unilever and Coca-Cola.
"Companies must set a clear vision to drastically reduce consumption of single-use plastic packaging in absolute terms, phase out hazardous chemicals and, crucially, advocate for - not against - the policy framework needed to support these actions," the organization said.
In a joint statement, the investors warned that "the whole plastics lifecycle poses a serious and growing threat to the environment, climate, biodiversity, human rights, and public health." The societal cost of plastic pollution is estimated to exceed 100 billion dollars annually. This includes clean-up expenses, ecosystem degradation, reduced life expectancy, and medical treatments.
According to the VBDO, there are between 75 million and 199 million tons of plastic in the ocean. However, the issue extends far beyond the marine environment. The life cycle of disposable plastic generates significant greenhouse gas emissions and is closely linked to increasing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals, the organization explained.
Reporting by ANP