Washington — February 10, 2021 — Verra, a leading global nonprofit standard-setter, and the 3R Initiative, a coalition committed to achieving zero plastic waste, today launched a new plastic stewardship initiative that will establish the world’s first comprehensive framework for companies to verifiably manage and reduce plastic waste.

More than 1,000 organizations have united behind a common vision and targets to create a circular economy for plastic as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy. Many are starting to set targets to collect and recycle the plastic waste they generate. Until now, there has been no integrated framework incorporating best practices for achieving and reporting on goals to collect and recycle plastic.

“With less than 10% of the 350 million tonnes of plastic produced each year currently recycled, we face an unprecedented plastic pollution crisis which must be addressed,” said David Antonioli, Chief Executive Officer of Verra. “If just 10 of the top plastic producers in the world adopted this new plastic stewardship initiative, it would remove more than 1 million tonnes of plastic waste leaked into the environment each year.”

The plastic stewardship initiative includes Guidelines for Corporate Plastic Stewardship and a Plastic Waste Reduction Standard (Plastic Standard). The Guidelines for Corporate Plastic Stewardship, developed by the 3R Initiative, South Pole, Quantis and EA, provide best practices for companies to credibly and transparently quantify and report on their plastic footprints, leakage and commitments to reduce plastic waste.

The Plastic Standard, developed and managed by Verra, helps companies that have fully maximized efforts to reduce the plastic footprint of their operations to invest in projects that collect and recycle plastic waste. Companies can do this by purchasing plastic credits from projects that meet the Plastic Standard. The plastic stewardship initiative creates incentives for companies to invest in new or scaled-up collection and recycling projects that reduce plastic pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, help improve livelihoods and protect marine ecosystems.

The Plastic Standard was piloted by 24 projects in 18 countries on six continents. In Indonesia, where 165 million people do not have access to waste management, Nestlé and Danone contributed to two pilot projects using the Plastic Standard to account for and independently verify the social, economic and environmental benefits of their work.

In 2019, Nestlé became a strategic partner of Project STOP to build more circular waste management systems in Indonesia, working with the local government and community. Since its founding in 2017 by Borealis and SYSTEMIQ, Project STOP, together with its partners, has stopped more than 1,200 tonnes of plastic from polluting the environment and brought new waste collection services to 134,000 people.

“Using the Plastic Standard will help improve transparency on impact measurement and reporting while supporting projects that will improve collection and recycling rates around the world,” said Hanna Jager, Nestlé Global Packaging Sustainability Lead.

In another pilot project in Indonesia, Danone invested in a recycling sorting center that diverted 1,400 tonnes of plastic from landfills in 2020 and is expected to divert 4,400 tonnes of plastic this year.

“This initiative will help companies speak the same language when quantifying their plastic footprint, increasing transparency and accountability to advance and accelerate toward a more circular economy,” said Alexander Cramwinckel, Global Circular Economy Manager at Danone.

In addition to Verra, whose Verified Carbon Standard accounts for two-thirds of all voluntary carbon offsets in the world, 3R Initiative members include Danone, Nestlé, Tetra Pak, BVRio, Conservation International, Lloyd’s Register, McKinsey.org, South Pole, SYSTEMIQ, Natural Capital Partners and Veolia.

About Verra

Verra is a global leader helping to tackle the world’s most intractable environmental and social challenges. As a mission-driven non-profit organization, Verra is committed to helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve livelihoods and protect natural resources by working with the private and public sectors. We support climate action and sustainable development with standards, tools and programs that credibly, transparently and robustly assess environmental and social impacts and enable funding for sustaining and scaling up projects that verifiably deliver these benefits. We work in any arena where we see a need for clear standards, a role for market-based mechanisms, and an opportunity to generate significant environmental and social value.

About the 3R Initiative

The 3R Initiative, named for its objectives of reducing plastic waste, recovering plastic from the environment and increasing recycling rates, aims to: (1) catalyze responsible design, use and recovery of packaging materials; (2) support companies in reducing their plastic waste footprints and mitigating potential leakage into the environment; and, (3) stimulate the development of new plastic recovery and recycling projects around the world.

About South Pole

South Pole is a leading advisor and provider of global climate services, with over 400 experts in 18 offices globally. South Pole helps private and public organizations and companies reduce their impact on the climate while mitigating risk and creating value. South Pole is a science-based company and its expertise covers project finance, data collection, and climate risk analysis, as well as the development of environmental commodities, such as measures for better plastic management, carbon neutral products and renewable energy credits. South Pole has mobilized climate financing to over 700 projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in areas such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable land use.

About Quantis

Quantis guides top organizations to define, shape and implement intelligent environmental sustainability solutions. In a nutshell, our creative geeks take the latest science and make it actionable. We deliver resilient strategies, robust metrics, useful tools, and credible communications. With offices in the US, France, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy, and clients around the world, Quantis is a key partner in inspiring sustainable change on a global scale. (re)discover Quantis at www.quantis-intl.com.

About EA

EA – Environmental Action is a mission driven research consultancy based in Switzerland, member of the European Network of Ecodesign Centres (ENEC). EA is leading the development of plastic footprint methodologies and plastic waste management databases. More information can be found at www.e-a.earth.