The Plastic Manifesto is a public - private sector partnership that outlines initiatives to encourage businesses to make firm commitments on plastic.
TARGET USERS: Businesses, Industry, Government
KEY CONSIDERATIONS: Private sector involvement is a voluntary act, and requires a willingness to set aside resources to meet the goals established in the Plastic Manifesto; however cities can also allocate resources to facilitate action and reduce financial burdens.
With a growing population and a global middle class with increased purchasing power, the single-use plastic waste stream is growing at an unprecedented rate. Coastal cities, such as Norway's Oslo, experience first hand the pressing need to care for their coastline, and water inlets such as the cherished Fjord in Southeast Norway.
The problems associated with plastic waste entering waterways and polluting our ocean, can be traced to industry, businesses, governments and individuals. We all have a role to play, and so holistic approaches that encourage cooperation among the different stakeholders, is critical to the success of our plastic reduction necessities.
The private sector has a unique role to play in developing and implementing new sustainable solutions, from product design and packaging to distribution to product promotion and sales, the private sector can influence the whole value chain.
When governments and individuals reward frontrunners with positive recognition and market differentiation, which supports increased business activity, those competing businesses will follow the lead. The current challenge is in finding those frontrunners to lead by example.
Cities can provide the guidance and tools that businesses need in order to make the plastic transition. In Norway, the City of Oslo has launched a Plastic Manifesto to engage the private sector on plastic. The Plastic Manifesto is a declaration of intentions made by participating companies, outlining a company's plastic reduction targets and objectives. The City of Oslo (in partnership with other stakeholders) also provides participating companies with the tools, guidance and resources that they need to successfully achieve the Manifesto's intentions.
In line with international efforts, such as the UN Clean Seas program, the EU Plastic directive, and the City of Oslo's own Action Plan, Oslo engages the private sector to develop partnerships that create synergies, allow for information exchanges and guidance from experts in related sectors. The City also connects local businesses to create a sense of communal responsibility through seminars and workshops tailored to different sectors.
There are many existing initiatives for public - private sector engagement on environmental issues, from energy to waste. The Plastic Manifesto seeks to build on existing cooperations rather than compete, to add concrete plastic goals while also providing much needed resources to achieve such goals on plastic.
City of Oslo
Companies are signing up and committing to take action against unnecessary use of plastic and to ensure that measures are put in place to reduce marine pollution. One concrete case that Oslo is working on is a pilot project called ‘Plastic-smart Urban Spaces’. The project is developed in cooperation with the Agency for Urban Environment (project owner) and AFRY (project manager). The pilot project will likely involve several of the signatories to the Plastic Manifesto as cooperation and involvement of different city actors is essential.
The pilot intends to reduce the unnecessary use of plastic, contribute to smart plastic use and ensure the sustainable handling of waste in a confined neighborhood in Oslo. In line with Oslo’s action plan and the goal stating that ‘by 2022 all use of unnecessary, single-use, plastic articles in Oslo will be phased out’, the pilot intends to ensure useful learning and experience that can streamline further scaling of the pilot methods in both Oslo and other cities around the world.
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