Publication / 23 Jun 2014

Valuing Plastic

UNEP and the Plastic Disclosure Project commissioned Trucost to carry out this analysis into plastic use, disclosure and management in the consumer goods sector.

The objective of this report is to help companies manage the opportunities and risks associated with plastic use. It makes the business case for companies to improve their measurement, disclosure and management of plastic use in their designs, operations and supply chains.

In order to provide a sense of scale, the report sets out to quantify the physical impacts of plastic use translated into monetary terms. This metric can be seen as the current value-at-risk to a company should these external impacts be realized internally through mechanisms like strengthened regulation, loss of market share, or increased price of raw materials and energy. This metric can also be used to help understand the magnitude of the opportunities, and the tangible benefits to stakeholders, including shareholders, of using plastic in an environmentally sustainable way.

Among the report’s key findings are that the toy, athletic goods and durable household goods sectors use the most plastic in products per US$1 million revenue, while the retail, restaurant and tobacco sectors use the most plastic per $1m revenue in their supply chains. The total natural capital cost of plastic used in the consumer goods industry is over $75bn per year. Food companies are by far the largest contributor to this cost, responsible for 23% of the total natural capital cost.

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