WPP commits to reducing single-use plastic waste and removing it from all offices

WPP has announced that it will be undertaking a series of initiatives to reduce pollution from single-use plastics.

By the start of 2020 the holding group will phase out single-use plastics, no longer buying or providing single-use plastics such as bottles, straws, cutlery and cups in any of its 3,000 locations worldwide.

There will also be more efficient recycling programs in every office to make it easier for its employees to recycle their own products, the group said at the Cannes festival.WPP signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, an agreement led jointly by UN Environment and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation which seeks to implement a circular economy model for plastic in which it is designed never to become waste or pollution. WPP joins a number of global FMCG companies in the agreement, including Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, Nestlé, PepsiCo, SC Johnson, The Coca-Cola Company and Unilever.

WPP also committed to work with its clients and partners on reducing single-use plastics. Some of its proposed initiatives include creating more sustainable packaging for its clients’ products, and using its work to change consumer behaviour and communicate the need to reduce waste.

The holding company has already brought Facebook on board, looking to utilise its global network to motivate consumers to take action.

Read: Taking the plastic out of ‘Wire & Plastic Products’

Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said that the group had the opportunity to make a global impact on reducing single-use plastic pollution.

“Our industry has tremendous collective power to bring about change for the better, but our efforts have to begin at home. Taking the plastic out of Wire & Plastic Products by phasing out single-use plastics in our offices is just the first step. People expect companies to act responsibly and help them live more sustainably, and our clients look to us to help them deliver brands with purpose. We look forward to working with partners across the industry and using our creativity, insight and scale to make a difference,” Read said.

Sian Sutherland, co-founder of the global movement A Plastic Planet, said the power of WPP could help accelerate the pace of change.

“Plastic is a miracle material born from man’s creativity. But our misuse of plastic has now created an environmental disaster that our children will inherit if we don’t turn off the plastic tap fast. To have the full creative force of WPP focused on driving change at many levels will accelerate the pace globally. Bad design got us into this mess and good design will get us out of it,” Sutherland said.

The announcement follows WPP’s summit in May, in which the company’s agency leaders from around the world came together to discuss reducing the impact of plastic waste.


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