Amcor calls for a legally binding United Nations treaty on plastic pollution; company says a good treaty would help reduce operational complexity, help businesses plan investments, simplify reporting and coordinate actions across the plastic value chain

Sample article from our Government & Public Policy

February 4, 2022 (press release) –

Amcor is proud to be among more than 70 businesses and financial institutions calling for a legally binding United Nations treaty on plastic pollution. Our joint statement and global call to action comes ahead of the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly, which will take place in Nairobi at the end of this month. As the global leader in responsible packaging and partner of choice for many brands who share our commitment for delivering more sustainable packaging solutions, we firmly believe in the need to act at both the micro and macro level to reduce waste in the environment.

We, like many companies and organizations, have already taken important steps and are investing heavily in the development of a circular economy for plastics, but the global scale of the challenge means that solutions can be accelerated with the right actions by UN members.

An ambitious UN treaty would not only help turn the tide on plastic pollution, it would also act as a tremendous catalyst for a more sustainable and innovative economic model grounded in the circular economy. For Amcor and our customers, we believe a good treaty would accomplish four things:

1. Help reduce operational complexity and compliance risk across markets.

2. Enable businesses to plan investments while managing the costs of compliance scanning.

3. Simplify reporting across the plastic value chain, bringing greater transparency to more effectively measure progress and manage reputational risk.

4. Coordinate actions across the plastic value chain, improving the prospects for meeting ambitious corporate commitments.

Amcor is calling on the realization of this treaty, but we are not just waiting for it – we are pressing ahead with our own commitments and actions.

We were the first global packaging company to pledge to design all products to be recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025 and to increase our use of recycled content. Practically speaking, this means we are acting on three main fronts – innovating to create products that are recyclable and contain more recycled content, funding and partnering with organizations supporting better infrastructure to improve recycling rates and empowering consumers through information to maximize recycling.

Thanks to these endeavors and the $100 million we are investing in research and development every year, progress is being made. In 2021, recycle-ready products accounted for 74% of our production by weight and 113,000 metric tons of recycled materials were purchased, of which 104,523 metric tons were recycled resins – an 86% increase on 2019.

The creation of a circular economy for plastics will not happen immediately, of course, but we are advancing. By driving demand and creating markets for recycled content, we are reducing the need for virgin resin, while acknowledging that recycled plastic cannot always be an appropriate substitute. This is an ongoing challenge, but a 2021 Ellen MacArthur Foundation report indicates the use of virgin resin in plastic packaging may have peaked.

A circular economy for plastics rests on the scaling of collection and recycling infrastructure, just as the transition to electric vehicles depends on the deployment of improved battery technologies and charging infrastructure. This is happening. Enabling a circular economy for packaging is an exciting evolution and Amcor will continue to play its role in it. Unlocking the next level, however, could greatly be facilitated by a global treaty simplifying legislation and reporting.

An international agreement to keep plastic out of the environment and in our economy would be economically and environmentally transformative. Governments across the world should seize the opportunity.

Amcor’s global team is inspired by winning for the environment. Discover more here.

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Jason Irving
Jason Irving
- SVP Enterprise Solutions -

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