Alquity, Nordea and Green Century Funds are among 17 investors that have written to MEPs and Member State environment ministers to take a “strong stance” on reducing plastic.
In May the group, along with more than 100 other investors with around $10trn assets under management, signed a statement to consumer goods companies asking them bring production and consumption of plastics within the limits of the planetary boundaries and alignment with the Paris Agreement and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
Today, a subset of this collaborative engagement effort is encouraging EU decision-makers to “take a strong stance on cutting waste at source in the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR)” to help businesses reduce their plastic use and also to protect investors from the risks plastics exposure can cause.
The letter makes clear the PPWR “represents a significant opportunity to achieve this, and in doing so, provide a regulatory environment in which companies can confidently invest in effective measures to reduce their environmental impact and thus appropriately manage the financial risks to which they – and their investors – are exposed”.
The signatory investors said plastic-related business risk is a growing concern, but noted attempts by businesses to water down the PPWR proposal, in particular, targets on reduction and reuse, pointing to “accumulating research” that demonstrates that “clean-up is futile unless substantial effort is made to prevent waste from arising at source”.
Analysis by InfluenceMap recently showed that lobbying efforts by industry associations on the PPWR already managed to considerably weaken some of the measures.
Angélique Laskewitz, executive director of Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO), which led the engagement, said: “We have seen an alarming and surprising quantity of anti-legislative lobbying from major corporations, trying to block an ambitious EU law on packaging.
“Laws like this are what will future-proof businesses – they know they need to go further than cosmetic changes and they urgently need to stop digging in their heels. That’s why we’re asking for legislators to give them the certainty they need and set a clear direction: reuse.”
Elin Noring, senior ESG analyst at Nordea Asset Management, added: “Companies trying to stop reuse-orientated regulation are swimming against the tide. They need to realise that a strong regulatory framework can support their efforts to address the plastics pollution crisis.”