In a world battling first with a pandemic and then with an armed conflict at Europe’s doorstep, there is little room left for solving other problems, big or small. But it doesn’t erase them. One of them is the pollution of our planet at the hands of garbage that is difficult to dispose of, first of all plastic.
“A study in 2015 showed that the total mass of plastics produced reached 8.3 billion metric tons, of which it is estimated that 6.3 billion went to waste”, Hamish Chamberlain, responsible for Global Sustainable Actions, CFA notes. by Janus Henderson. “About 80% of this waste remains in landfills or pollutes the environment.” If we consider that some polymers take over 500 years to decompose and that around one million plastic bottles are sold every minute around the world, we can get an idea of the extent of the problem.
One problem is that – among other things – developed countries today cannot even attempt to download anywhere else. In fact, in 2018, a rule banning the import of paper or plastic waste into China came into force. And “with nearly two-thirds of global plastic waste arriving in China in 2016, this law has had a major impact on governments, businesses and consumers.” Since then, some European countries have been trying to limit the production of plastics: the United Kingdom and Scotland have banned plastic microspheres and cotton buds, while France has banned plastic cutlery. However, other major sources of pollution are yet to be controlled. However, the road seems to have been drawn: in 2022 the United Nations Assembly for the Environment should begin discussions on a reference treaty for the global control of plastic pollution.
As a result, companies will have to adapt to new sensitivities and regulations – and this opens up new opportunities for investors. But how to identify the most attentive companies to this issue? Chamberlain points to a few factors to pay attention to: transparency and voluntary communication, but also the use of recycled materials and the early integration of the circular economy model.
Of course, the matter is complicated. “The overall impact of plastic use in terms of sustainability is the result of several interrelated factors. For example, food packaging has been targeted by consumer groups and regulators, despite contributing to the safe distribution of food, increasing its shelf life, and reducing food waste,” notes the manager. The importance of the product varies greatly by company and region.” We look at companies with a transparent and consistent approach from both the point of view of products or services and operations, as we believe this is the best long-term trajectory for a company. Guaranteed”.
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