Who is Disclosing Now?
A growing number of organisations around the world are already taking action. While some have implemented PDP's recommendations as a direct result of our engagement with them, or pressure from NGOs, regulators, governments and citizens; most organisations have acted in advance, having recognised the importance of managing their plastic footprint wisely, and communicating their progress to their stakeholders.
As a status check on progress in this field, PDP's report with UNEP and Trucost, 'Valuing Plastic', released at the first ever UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi in 2014, documents the growing need, and the response of companies in the consumer goods sector. The results are mixed, with some companies not revealing any meaningful metrics at all, and several companies sharing significant information including their progress, successes and remainaing challenges. Since then, more and more organisations have improved their measurement, management and disclosure in this field, across industries, as increasing attention is drawn to the issue.
For a full accounting of our findings, please see our report and the sector 'Spotlights'. However, some noteworthy examples regarding plastic management and reporting include:
- in the sample of Consumer Goods companies for our 'Valuing Plastic' report, strong leadership in reporting on progress, innovations, and challenges in managing plastic came from the durable household goods and consumer electronics sectors, with disclosure rates of 88% and 71% respectively . This was followed by the retail and food sectors with 67% disclosure rates.
- Apple, Dell, Electrolux, Hewlett-Packard, Indesit, LG Electronics, Meiji, Nestlé, Samsung Electronics and Sony are examples of companies making good progress on both their disclosures, and on reducing the impact of the plastics used. As examples of good reporting: Apple produces an environmental footprint for each of its products; Hewlett-Packard publishes the weight of materials used in PC and printer manufacturing, including plastic, normalised by revenue to measure performance; Nestlé reports on both the quantity of packaging used and the quantity of recycled content; and Indesit is one of the best disclosers, disclosing quantity of plastic use, percentage of recycled content and tonnes of packaging collected in Europe. Examples of clever plastic management include increasing recycled and/or bio-based content, using plastic alternatives, eliminating hazardous substances, lightweighting, innovative redesign, recovering materials and running buy-back programmes, and particpating in e-waste and EPR regimes.
- In retail and food sectors, interesting examples include Dunkin' Donuts and Walmart: Dunkin' Donuts reports it will deploy an alternative to its expanded polystyrene cups by the end of 2015, after many years of research and consumer pressure. Walmart reports its achieved a 35% reduction in plastic bags distributed since 2007, or 3.1bn bags; is actively phasing out problematic polymers; and has the ambition to be ‘packaging neutral’ through the use of recyclable, reusable, recycled and sustainably sourced packaging by 2025.
- Laggards within Consumer Goods included footwear and athletic goods sectors, where none of the businesses in our sample for our 'Valuing Plastic' report disclosed significant and valuable quantitative data. However, in clothing and accessories, reporting on plastic is more prominent, as is their innovative solutions such as use of recycled PET in products and packaging, and in-store take-back programs.
Examples of organisations PDP has influenced directly include:
- PulpWorks - a budding US company offering an alternative to plastic packaging, reported its 'plastic footprint' to PDP
- Ecologic Brands - a growing US "eco-friendly" packaging company, reported its 'plastic footprint' to PDP
- University of California Berkeley - as part of their zero-waste-to-landfill by 2020 goal, reported its 'plastic footprint' to PDP
- Seventh Generation - American company that sells cleaning, paper, and personal care products known for its sustainability and focus on conservation of natural resources - has committed to reporting its plastic footprint
- Method - an environmentally friendly cleaning products company - has committed to reporting its plastic footprint
- San Francisco Airport – aims to be the “greenest airport” in the USA - has submitted an initial plastic disclosure report to PDP
- a major Asian airline – our influence has resulted in a modest plastic disclosure in their sustainability report, where there was none previously
- a major luxury hotel chain – eight Asian resorts of the luxury brand hotel chain are disclosing to us
- a major global hotel chain - 3 large hotels have measured and reported their 'disposable' plastic consumption to us, and planning for 'footprinting' is underway at 2 resorts
- Paragon Communications, Inc., one of USA’s largest remanufacturers of enterprise and consumer electronics, has partnered with the Plastic Disclosure Project to track and improve its plastic waste stream. Building on a foundation of environmental stewardship as a telecommunications and electronics recycler, Paragon has voluntarily disclosed its plastic waste through the PDP.
- LUSH Cosmetics, became PDP's first discloser, producing a comprehensive report released to PDP on a confidential basis. Lush also prepared a summary of their report for for those who might like to learn from their experience. One important issue on Lush’s agenda has been its use of microplastic glitter in ten products. Starting with the Christmas line in 2012, Lush decided to replace these with alternatives including rice paper confetti, coloured mica, agar-based sparkles and popping candy, without losing any of the product functionality. This is a forward thinking decision considering the associated costs, both economic and to natural capital. The Plastic Disclosure Project was instrumental in Lush’s move away from plastic beads and glitter, as it was through conducting its Plastic Disclosure Project disclosure that Lush recognised the magnitude of the issue and opportunity.
- The World Bank's Global Partnership for Oceans has partnered with PDP research and programs for cities and their waste analysis. The first such project was in Colombia with the Ministry of Environment, and produced a three-city PDP study along the Magdalena River Basin, which leads into the Caribbean.
Become a Discloser
If your organisation has started on the continuous improvement journey of measuring, managing and disclosing its 'plastic footprint', please let us know and alert us to your publicly disclosed information.
You may also wish to contact us if you need help getting started, would like some example metrics and questions to consider, or would like to disclose confidentially to PDP, rather than publicly in your existing sustainability reporting programme.
Organisations of all forms -- public, private, institutions, governments, clubs, facilities -- can take on PDP's "Plastic Footprint Challenge": commiting to measure and report their plastic footprint, and thus developing plastic management strategies that are effective, efficient, economical and environmentally friendly.
For more information on PDP, please contact:
For organizations that would like to participate in PDP including companies, universities, hospitals, local governments or other institutions, please contact email@example.com
For asset owners, fund managers, non-profits and other stakeholders that would like to support the PDP by signing an endorsement letter or providing financial support, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org