How impact investing can tackle the plastic crisis
Thursday, July 19, 2018
By Benjamin Chiou
Whether we like it or not, plastic is useful. And it’s versatile, used daily to keep food fresh, make contactless payments, hold shopping and to brush our teeth. Yet, despite a turning point in public attitudes towards waste, plastic continues to litter streets, rivers and oceans, and is causing irreversible damage to the planet. As organisations react to this new consumer concern, impact investing offers opportunities to commercialise this much-needed global clean-up.
From the shocking scenes of Blue Planet II to global campaigns against single-use straws and disposable coffee cups, the public is waking up to the impact that plastic can have on the environment. But while a reduction in demand for excessive packaging may have a small impact at the source, prompting food and drink manufacturers to curtail their use of unnecessary material, the sheer amount of plastic leakage into the Earth’s oceans continues to grow.
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 32 per cent of plastic packaging escapes collection systems worldwide and, if current trends continue, the weight of plastic in the oceans could surpass the weight of fish by 2050.
Photo courtesy of Pavel Ahmed.