India has become the first Asian country to develop a plastics pact, launching a ground-breaking new initiative to bring together leading businesses at a national level to make commitments for building a circular system for plastics.
The India Plastics Pact (IPP) has launched as a collaboration between:
- WWF India
- the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
The pact is supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and WRAP, and endorsed by the British High Commission in India.
In Autumn 2020, UKRI committed £250,000 of funding to:
- enable WRAP to establish the India Plastics Pact
- initiate start-up
- engage the Indian government
- develop the appropriate targets and priority work streams for India.
Launching the pact
The pact was formally announced on 3 September, at the CII 16th Sustainability Summit. Professor Sir Duncan Wingham, Executive Chair of NERC spoke at the event alongside Alex Ellis, the British High Commissioner to India who was the keynote speaker.
Alex applauded the initiatives and the direction in which the partnership between India and the UK is moving to tackle plastic waste. Alex emphasised the 2030 UK-India roadmap established by Prime Minsters Boris Johnson and Narendra Modi earlier this year.
As part of the launch, 27 businesses and supporting organisations, including major fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands, manufacturers, retailers and recyclers made their commitment to the pact as founding members.
Businesses signed up include:
- Amazon.com, Inc
- Coca Cola India Pvt. Ltd
- Mondelez India Foods Private Limited.
India generates 9.46 megatons of plastic waste annually, of which:
- 40% is not collected
- about half of all plastics produced in the country are used in packaging, most of which is single-use in nature.
Unified national framework
Commitments made under the pact aim to keep plastic packaging in the economy and out of the natural environment by developing a unified national framework for a circular economy. That is, with aligned targets and reporting for businesses to reduce plastics from their value chains, to be measured against defined timelines.
The India Plastics Pact’s targets to be achieved by 2030 are:
- define a list of unnecessary or problematic plastic packaging and items and take measures to address them through redesign and innovation
- 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable or recyclable
- 50% of plastic packaging to be effectively recycled
- 25% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.
The Indian pact’s targets will address the elimination of unnecessary and problematic plastic packaging, ensure packaging becomes reusable, recyclable or compostable while also increasing the rates of:
- the recycled content in plastic packaging.
The UK has seen the success of the Plastic Pacts, stimulating demand-led innovation and significant investment from the private sector. UKRI’s Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging programme complements this by:
- supporting industry-led collaborative research and development
- investing in new technologies for the design, production, supply, recovery
- recycling of plastic packaging in line with the UK Plastic Pact targets.
Professor Sir Duncan Wingham, Executive Chair, NERC:
India is currently working on various bold initiatives to reduce plastic waste and is committed to building a circular system for plastics to overcome waste management challenges. With a UKRI presence in India, we saw the opportunity to continue our work alongside WRAP to help our international partners replicate the successes of the UK’s Plastic Pact.
The India Plastic Pact will complement and build on existing work and provide a mechanism to bring together governments, industry, researchers and practitioners to develop ways of reducing the level of plastic waste entering the environment.
Rebecca Fairbairn, Director of UKRI India:
Plastics pollution is a global issue and the opportunity to reorient plastics as a resource in the value chain is a global opportunity. Collaboration is key to unlocking this and the India Plastics Pact is testimony to India-UK research and innovation partnership to address key global issues.
The India Plastics Pact is the first in Asia and part of a growing global movement. What is most exciting about the Plastics Pact is that it brings together governments, businesses, researchers and NGOs to create sustainable, unified, national frameworks for circular economies that work specifically for each country.
In the UK, this has stimulated demand-led innovation to attain commitment to reduce, reuse and recycle the plastics in our environment.
UKRI India is excited to support the India Plastics Pact and the innovative solutions it will develop for plastics pollution in India.
A key pillar of the 2030 roadmap
HE Mr Alexander Ellis, British High Commissioner to India, said:
Protecting the climate and environment is a key pillar of the 2030 roadmap agreed by PMs Johnson and Modi, which sets out the UK and India’s shared ambition over the next decade. The UK is proud to be India’s biggest European research partner, with £400 million of joint investment in research and innovation since 2008.
Through joint efforts by CII, WWF-India, WRAP, UKRI, and members of the India Plastics Pact, this first of its kind initiative in Asia will complement India’s other bold initiatives in the renewables sector and efforts to limit single-use plastics.
Marcus Gover, WRAP CEO said:
It is hugely significant to have such a strategically important force in the region and on the global stage on board with its own Plastics Pact.
The potential environmental and economic benefits to be gleaned from achieving the Pact’s ambitious goals are enormous for India. We have been able to bring all the learning and expertise we have amassed from supporting Plastics Pacts around the world to CII and WWF-India.
We look forward to continue working together to turn words into action and ending the scourge of plastic pollution for good.