This open Letter, penned by Ellen MacArthur, Erik Solheim (UN Environment), Stella McCartney and nine other significant industry players, calls on businesses and governments to work together to draw a line in the sand and tackle plastic waste and pollution at its source.

DRAW A LINE IN THE SAND

By 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean. Yet the problems start long before plastic reaches our oceans, rivers and beaches, and so must the solutions.

From protecting food and medicines to making technology accessible and affordable, our modern economy relies on plastic for many things. But the way we use this material has resulted in a crisis of waste and pollution.

People around the world are coming together to demand change. Many are changing the way they shop, what they eat and how they live. Millions of dollars are being invested in cleaning up plastics from our oceans, rivers and streets. But all this vital work will be for nothing if ever more plastic continues to be landfilled, burned, or escape into our environment.

We must tackle this flood at the source.

We must eliminate the plastic we don’t need – the throwaway straws, cutlery and cups; unnecessary packaging and items that can be replaced with better alternatives.

We must innovate so all the plastic we do need is designed to be safely reused, recycled, or composted.

And we must circulate everything we use, making sure the plastic we produce stays in the economy and never becomes waste or pollution.

Some businesses, working side by side with governments, are already changing how plastic is designed, used and re-used, to stop the pollution before it starts. Yet we need much more to happen, and many more to follow their lead. That work must start now, with firm commitments and immediate action.

Through the Global Commitment, which sees businesses and governments unite behind a common vision and ambitious, time-bound targets, we can draw a line in the sand. Because only when we come together and use the combined power of innovation, industry, finance, policy, and the people, will we finally turn the tide on plastic pollution.

The question is not whether a world without plastic pollution is possible, but what we will do together to make it happen.

ELLEN MACARTHUR • FOUNDER, ELLEN MACARTHUR FOUNDATION 
ERIK SOLHEIM
 • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UN ENVIRONMENT 
HSH PRINCE ALBERT II OF MONACO 

FRANS TIMMERMANS
 • FIRST VICE PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION 
IAN COOK
 • CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, COLGATE-PALMOLIVE COMPANY 
EMMANUEL FABER
 • CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, DANONE 
STELLA MCCARTNEY
 • FOUNDER, STELLA MCCARTNEY 
GONZALO MUNOZ
 • CO-FOUNDER SISTEMA B INTERNATIONAL AND B LAB BOARD MEMBER
JULIE PACKARD • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM 
PAUL POLMAN
 • CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, UNILEVER 
WENDY SCHMIDT
 • PRESIDENT, THE SCHMIDT FAMILY FOUNDATION 
PAVAN SUKHDEV 
• PRESIDENT, WWF INTERNATIONAL 
DOMINIC WAUGHRAY
 • HEAD OF CENTRE FOR GLOBAL PUBLIC GOODS, MEMBER OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

This is reprinted from Ellen MacArthur Foundation.