The harrowing statistic that there will be more waste plastic in the sea than fish by 2050 has finally resonated with select brands in the fashion industry who have pledged to clean up their act.
This week, Burberry, H&M, and Stella McCartney joined the British and Chilean governments, amongst others, by signing the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. The pact to “eradicate plastic waste and pollution at the source” was spearheaded by UN Environment and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and comprises three targets for brands, governments, and non-profit organizations.
Firstly, all committed parties must eliminate single use and unnecessary plastic packaging from their entire business model. Secondly, they must be proactive at recycling and reusing existing plastics in circulation. And thirdly, they must innovate new methods to reduce plastic waste. Progress in each area must be published annually, and targets will be reviewed every 18 months.
One of the first major objectives is to create “a new normal” for plastic packaging and to ensure 100% of plastic packaging can be safely recycled by 2025.
“We know that cleaning up plastics from our beaches and oceans is vital, but this does not stop the tide of plastic entering the oceans each year,” said Dame Ellen MacArthur, who announced the commitment at the Our Ocean Conference in Bali. “We need to move upstream to the source of the flow. The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment draws a line in the sand, with businesses, governments and others around the world uniting behind a clear vision for what we need to create a circular economy for plastic.”
L’Oréal, Johnson & Johnson and Unilever are three of the beauty giants to have signed up. But, if only six out of the 290 committed organizations are household fashion and beauty names then we have a long way to go until the environmental crisis shifts away from being an emergency.
This article first appeared on Vogue.co.uk