A coalition of 160 leading financial institutions worldwide has demanded for bold action to address the escalating issue of plastic pollution, marking a significant shift in investment focus towards sustainability.

This call to action precedes the much-anticipated fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution (INC-4), scheduled in Ottawa. The session’s goal is to lay the groundwork for a binding international agreement by the end of the year.

Institutions such as the UK’s Legal & General Investment Management and Canada’s CDPQ are at the forefront, highlighting the critical situation caused by the annual production of 400 million metric tons of plastic waste. This crisis threatens biodiversity and has seeped into even the most remote environments, affecting everything from the Himalayas to our daily food and bloodstreams.

Towards a Binding International Agreement

The envisioned treaty aims to align both public and private financial flows towards eliminating plastic pollution, echoing the ambitions of the Paris climate accord and the Kunming-Montreal global biodiversity framework. The finance sector is poised to play a pivotal role by evaluating risks and opportunities associated with plastic, and boosting investments in projects that aim to reduce plastic waste.

The coalition proposes several measures for the treaty, including setting clear, government-supported policies and targets to reduce waste generation and enhance recycling. There is also a strong call for substantial private investment to support these objectives.

Anne-Sophie Castelnau, ING’s global head of sustainability, stated, “Establishing a defined transition pathway in the Treaty will unlock significant financial resources needed to globally eradicate plastic pollution.”

Support also comes from Steve Hardman, CEO of the NGO Plastic Collective, who stresses the importance of creating robust financial mechanisms to tackle plastic waste. He cited the innovative $100 million bond issued by the World Bank, aimed at financing plastic-reduction projects in Ghana and Indonesia, as an example of financial innovation at work.

As negotiations in Canada approach, the financial sector’s collective demand underscores a growing agreement on the economic strategies crucial for effectively fighting the plastic pollution crisis. The outcomes of next week’s discussions could establish new benchmarks for international environmental policy and underline finance’s role in fostering sustainable ecological practices.

Image Source: Inside Climate News