Companies' pledges on plastic pollution avoid root problem
The researchers reviewed the annual reports of nearly 1,000 of the world’s largest companies and found, for instance, that 72% of the top 300 companies on the Fortune Global 500 list have made some form of voluntary commitment to reduce plastic pollution. But even though the number of environmental pledges have greatly increased in the last five years, most firms have largely avoided tackling the root of the problem – namely, the excessive use of plastic in the first place, Vermeer says. Most plastics are either non-recyclable or too difficult to recycle, yet corporate actions have mainly concentrated on recycling, Vermeer notes. “Recycling doesn't address the core problem, which is more and more plastics into the environment,” says Vermeer. “It is like trying to catch all the waste that comes out at the end of the pipe, instead of saying, ‘Well, why is there more and more plastic in the first place.’” Vermeer says he was surprised by the high percentage of firms that have committed to addressing the plastics problem, but that in large part is because of public pressure to do so.