Global Firms To Share Supply Chain To Stop Marine Litter
World-first Next Wave initiative aims to curb 66 million bottles entering sea within the next 5 years
A group of global blue chips has clubbed together to develop the world’s first commercial scale ocean bound plastics supply chain.
The collaborative, open-source initiative, dubbed ‘Next Wave’, will allow for a shared sustainable model that reduces ocean-bound plastic pollution, while creating economic and social benefits.
The group, which has Dell, Microsoft and General Motors among its members, aims to divert more than three million pounds of plastics from entering the ocean within five years, the equivalent to keeping 66 million water bottles from washing out to sea.
Research shows that an estimated eight million tonnes of plastic waste entered the ocean in 2010, and if trends do not change, more than 150 million tonnes of plastic waste will have entered the ocean by 2025. This stark trend poses near-term threats to vital ocean ecosystems including critical fish nurseries and coral reefs, as well as the longevity of marine species and the human race.
According to NextWave, the group will ensure that the resulting supply chain has ‘the infrastructure and support necessary to meet demand, as well as align with globally approved social and environmental standards’. The initiative will also confirm the integrity of the supply chain and resulting product integration through chain-of-custody compliance and external third-party verification of impact, the group said.
The Lonely Whale, an NGO dedicated to bringing people closer to the world’s ocean through K-12 education, consumer campaigns and market-based solutions will convene the group.
NextWave will actively engage scientists and advocates working with marine litter and ocean health to advise on a sustainable model that supports the needs of coastal communities and environments. The initiative is supported by UN Environment, with private sector partners invited to sign up to the Clean Seas campaign as part of their commitment.
Erik Solheim, executive director, United Nations Environment, said in a statement: “The oceans are facing a plastic pandemic and it is critical for companies to take ownership of their supply chains and for consumers be aware of how their everyday choices can have a lasting legacy.”
John Bradburn, global manager of waste reduction, General Motors, added: “Whether it’s turning ocean oil booms or Flint water bottles into car parts, GM has been working to address water-related waste.
“Advancing the circular economy requires us to see items not as what they are, but what they can become. When we work together, cross-industry with small and large companies alike, we unlock even more value from these resources and multiply the positive impact.”