This report reveals the regulatory weaknesses around toxic releases that are currently hidden from both investors and the public – despite the clear health hazards – which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not permitted to reveal.
This report highlights ten major failings regarding toxic emissions. These are split into two categories: data that is hidden from view, but which is still allowed under current regulations, and areas where data transparency can be improved.
Under the OECD’s business-as-usual scenario, global plastic waste is forecast to rise to 1,014 Mt by 2060, a near tripling compared to 2019 levels. The AEPW’s last Progress Report (2021) demonstrates that the AEPW had only diverted and recycled about 0.004 Mt since its creation in 2019, signaling that a dramatic ramp-up in recycling and recovery is needed. The USD 1.5 billion pledged by the AEPW members over a five-year period represents only a fraction of their members’ financial capacity and it is trivial in comparison to the USD 400 billion the oil & gas and chemical industry plans to spend on new plastic manufacturing capacity in the coming years.
Packaging as an asset
Companies treat packaging as an asset up to the point that the product is sold. At the point of purchase – when the object is in the hands of the consumer – the packaging switches from being a corporate asset to a liability for the consumer or local municipality, which is responsible for its disposal.
Planet Tracker argues that, if packaging remained an asset of the producer or seller throughout its life, it would optimise the recycling of packaging and turbocharge the transition towards a circular economy.
This research reveals that financial markets are playing a significant role in backing the petrochemical and refining industries in the US Gulf of Mexico, which combined, account for more than a quarter of the country’s total petrochemical facilities. It removes the smokescreen of ‘not knowing’ about the impact that pollution has on the local communities and demands that investors take meaningful action to reduce the risks. Together with Planet Tracker’s accompanying interactive data dashboard, the report serves as a toolkit for investors to understand the devastating impact of the industry.
Breaking the Mould
The EU plastic industry plays an important role in determining the fate of our climate, health and economy. According to Planet Tracker’s latest report, Breaking the Mould, investors, regulators and politicians must ask themselves a crucial question: has the plastic industry’s business-as-usual model become more risky than embarking on a transition towards a sustainability-driven strategy?
Paying for transition
Plastic container and packaging (PC&P) companies constitute a major component of the plastics supply chain, acting as the link between the oil and chemical giants and the consumer goods companies and are currently locked in a damaging and pollutive cycle of take, make and waste – but their financial capabilities could make them important agents for change.