Insights and imperatives…

Facts and insights

Sources: CDP and Our World in Data

Tackling the plastics problem: insights and imperatives

CPD on plastic pollution

About the CPD

Their findings aim to represent a performance baseline for accelerating corporate action on plastic pollution.
Our world in data

About Our World in Data

Aims to publish research and data to make progress against the world’s largest problems.

Tackling the plastics problem: insights and imperatives

Plastic pollution has become a critical environmental issue, demanding urgent and comprehensive action. The latest data from CDP and Our World in Data reveal the stark reality of plastic pollution and corporate responses, emphasizing the need for a multi-faceted approach to mitigate its impacts.

CDP findings

  • 2,962 companies disclosed through CDP in 2023
  • 400,000,000 tonnes of plastic are produced each year.
  • Less than 10% of plastics are recycled globally each year.

The corporate response gap

In 2023, CDP expanded its disclosure platform to include plastic-related data from nearly 3,000 companies. Despite their substantial market capitalization of $25 trillion, the findings highlight significant gaps in corporate awareness and action regarding plastic impacts:

  • Awareness and mapping: a concerning 41% of companies have not mapped their plastic use and impacts.
  • Risk identification: only 21% have identified plastic-related risks.
  • Recycling efforts: less than 10% of plastics are recycled annually.

These statistics underscore the urgent need for mandatory disclosure under frameworks like the Global Plastics Treaty and for companies to set proactive targets to address plastic-related risks and seize emerging opportunities.

The broader picture: global plastic pollution

Our World in Data provides a comprehensive overview of the scale and scope of plastic pollution:

  • Production and waste: as of recent estimates, around 380 million tons of plastic are produced annually, contributing significantly to global waste.
  • Environmental impact: a substantial portion of this plastic waste ends up in oceans, with estimates suggesting that by 2050, the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish if current trends continue.
  • Recycling challenges: despite efforts, only about 9% of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled, with the majority ending up in landfills or the natural environment.

Pathways to solutions

The data from both CDP and Our World in Data clearly indicate that mitigating plastic pollution requires concerted efforts at multiple levels:

  1. Mandatory disclosures: implementing mandatory disclosures for companies regarding their plastic use and impacts can drive greater transparency and accountability.
  2. Innovative recycling: advancing recycling technologies and increasing the global capacity for recycling can help address the low recycling rates.
  3. Corporate targets: encouraging companies to set and achieve specific targets for reducing plastic waste and improving recycling practices is crucial.
  4. Public awareness and policy: raising public awareness and enacting robust policies to manage plastic production and waste effectively.

By leveraging data, increasing transparency, and fostering innovation, we can begin to address the pervasive issue of plastic pollution and move towards a more sustainable future.

For more information, visit CDP’s Plastics Disclosure Data and Our World in Data on Plastic Pollution.

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