WPP will phase out single-use plastics in its premises by the end of 2019. The agency network announced that it will no longer buy or provide single-use plastics such as bottles, straws, cutlery and cups in any of its 3,000-plus agency offices and campuses worldwide. It will also make it easier for employees to recycle their own plastic materials at work.
WPP will host a series of “Unpack the Problem” creative hackathons over the summer to develop actionable ideas that help tackle plastic pollution. This comes as WPP signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, led jointly by UN Environment and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, thereby endorsing the vision of a circular economy for plastic in which it is designed never to become waste or pollution. Other companies that have showed their support include Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, Nestlé, PepsiCo, SC Johnson, The Coca-Cola Company and Unilever.
The company has also committed to work with partners and clients to inspire consumers to think differently about plastic packaging and change their behaviour; create more sustainable approaches to product and packaging design; and develop new systems for delivering and recycling products. Facebook is among the first partners to collaborate and the two companies are exploring ways to work together to harness their collective global reach to drive action among consumers.
Mark Read (pictured), CEO of WPP, said the industry has tremendous collective power to bring about change for the better, but 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,” he said.
WPP joins the list of companies including Nestle, Yakult Singapore, Burger King, and Starbucks that have committed to going green by eliminating plastic. Meanwhile, P&G and AEON are also working with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to turn boxes of discarded plastic from local households or the oceans into podiums for the upcoming games.
Closer to home, F&B outlets in Selangor are banned from providing plastic straws effective 1 July 2019, in the government’s aim to eliminate the use of single-use plastic. The state has also stopped giving out free plastic bags on Saturdays. Meanwhile, Penang has stopped giving out free plastic bags on all days, while Kedah ceased the practice for Fridays and Saturdays.
In Singapore, Temasek Shophouse, a space created by the philanthropic arm of Temasek Holdings, Temasek Trust, launched The [Not So] Convenience Store to encourage consumers to rethink their habits of convenience. The products offered are sustainable alternatives and the store aims to highlight Singaporeans’ high dependence on single-use plastics, low recycling and reuse habits and constant desire for new electronic gadgets.