POC Member exclusive | LEGO reports back from UN Plastic Treaty talks

on screen view of a slide presentation highlighting the UN Plastic Treaty negotiations timeline.

POC Member exclusive | LEGO reports back from UN Plastic Treaty talks

An exclusive update on the latest UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution from the leading toy brand, the LEGO Group is now available as a special webinar for Products of Change members to view on demand.

Led by Louise Smith, the LEGO Group’s environmental policy lead, the special webinar dives into the intricacies of the UN Treaty talks, including how we got to where we are now, the topics that have been covered in the convened negotiations to date, and what the potential outcome could mean for businesses across the globe.

The webinar marks the first in a new series of special discussions focussing on global policy and how it will impact businesses across our industries.

Products of Change Members can catch the full webinar here.

Held in Nairobi in November 2023, the most recent talks marked the third round of Intergovernmental Negotiations by Committee (INC) between 2022 and 2024.

What is the UN treaty on Plastic Pollution?

In March 2022, the United Nations Environment Assembly agreed to set out a legally binding treaty on plastic pollution and ocean plastic pollution. The intention of the treaty is to tackle the threat of plastic pollution to the natural environment and human health. In recognition of its impact and importance, it is being dubbed ‘the Climate Agreement for Plastic Pollution.’

However, as may be expected, the negotiations are far from clear cut, bringing together viewpoints from across the NGO sector such as Green Peace, governments, manufacturing, and, of course, industry and business. From each faction there are varying perspectives on the severity of the plastic pollution issue and the potency with which the UN Plastic Treaty should tackle it. 

“The headline achievement from INC-3 negotiations at the end of last year is that UNEP now has a revised ‘Zero Draft’ with which to enter the next phase of negotiations, INC-4,” says Louise. “There will be five of these convened negotiations with an aim to have an agreed upon Treaty in place by 2025.”

Calling out for better business representation

Speaking about the effectiveness of the Treaty negotiations so far, Louise calls on greater representation from the business sector to be present when INC-4 convenes in Toronto later this year. 

“UNEP are very much being led by the NGOs right now, highly emotive and passionate speeches about the necessity to simply ‘turn off the plastic tap,” recounts Louise. “As such, we’re seeing push back from entities – countries like China and Russia – that are suggesting plastic production is not an issue.

“We need to follow the science. Being led by emotions or global politics won’t get us to where we need to be. If we follow the science, with representation from business, we will be able to land upon an agreed draft that will be a stepping stone or a foundation to be built on for whatever comes after these Treaty negotiations.”

Products of Change members can gain full insight into the latest developments around the UN Treaty for Plastic Pollution here.

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