Trucost News / 05 Jun 2014

Advance introduction of Valuing Plastic

Sustainable Brands, Plastic Disclosure Project, United Nations Environment Programme and Trucost are pleased to announce the advance introduction of “Valuing Plastic – The Business Case for Measuring, Managing and Disclosing Plastic Use in the Consumer Goods Industry” at Sustainable Brands 2014 San Diego.

On the evening of June 5, an advanced copy of the Executive Summary of Valuing Plastic: The Business Case for Measuring, Managing and Disclosing Plastic Use in the Consumer Goods Industry will be shared with the Sustainable Brands® community during SB’14 San Diego.

Plastic Disclosure Project is releasing this publication in partnership with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Trucost. It articulates the business case for companies to measure, manage and disclose information on their annual use and disposal of plastic.

This report uses natural capital valuation to identify ‘hotspots’ of pollution or resource use in the consumer goods industry. It can be used by companies to target efforts to optimize plastic use and reduce end-of-life impacts. Measuring, managing and disclosing plastic use allows businesses to weigh their impacts on the environment and improve their sustainable business practices.

One of the most important insights revealed by natural capital valuation, the method employed within this study, is the ‘value at risk’ in consumer goods companies. This is the proportion of revenue potentially lost if companies are held accountable for the damage caused by plastic use and disposal. According to this research, sectors such as retail and food have the highest supply chain plastic intensity, while soft drinks and personal products have the highest plastic-in-packaging intensity. The toys and athletic goods sectors have some of the highest overall values at risk, yet have low rates of disclosure, suggesting a risk that stakeholders’ concerns are not being fully addressed.

In order to quantify the natural capital costs of businesses’ plastic impacts, the methodology of the report follows six steps: sector selection, plastic use quantification, scope and boundary selection, impact quantification, and natural capital valuation and application. The analysis identifies a range of risks and opportunities facing companies that are intensive users of plastic. Risks include the impact of tougher environmental legislation, damage done to the reputation of brands targeted by campaigners over their association with plastic litter, clean-up costs and disruption to the plastic supply chain caused by resource scarcity and price volatility. Opportunities include cost reduction, product innovation, securing customer loyalty, and better predicting disruptive influences.

Further information

To receive an embargoed copy of the Valuing Plastics Executive Summary, please email

A webinar for the 100 companies mentioned in this report will take place on June 19 in advance of the full report release. Sustainable Brands ® will hold a public webinar on July 9. These webinars will discuss the report in depth and will include companies such as LUSH Cosmetics sharing their experience.

International media will have access to the Executive Summary through the “Our Ocean” Conference hosted in Washington by Secretary of State John Kerry from June 16-17, at the Plasticity Forum in NYC on June 24, with the full report to be released in association with the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, June 23-27.

Media contact

James Richens, +44 (0)20 7160 9804,

About Sustainable Brands

Sustainble Brands is the premier global community of brand innovators who are shaping the future of commerce worldwide. Since 2006, our mission has been to inspire, engage and equip today’s business and brand leaders to prosper for the near and long term by leading the way to a better future. Digitally published news articles and issues-focused conversation topics, internationally known conferences and regional events, a robust e-learning library and peer-to-peer membership groups all facilitate community learning and engagement throughout the year. Sustainable Brands is hosted by Sustainable Brands Worldwide, a division ofSustainable Life Media headquartered in San Francisco, CA.

About the Plastic Disclosure Project

The Plastic Disclosure Project asks organisations to measure, manage, disclose and benefit from more sustainable use of plastic. It seeks a world in which plastic adds value for consumers and businesses without negatively impacting the environment. The PDP requests annual reporting regarding the production, use, handling and management of plastic and plastic waste by organisations. By measuring the amount of plastic that flows through an organisation, efficiencies can be gained in cost and waste reduction, new design, new materials, and better recycling. By reviewing how the material is managed, organisations can recognise risks, and seize opportunities, their competitors may miss. By disclosing, organisations demonstrate leadership, and attract benefits in employee engagement, supplier management, customer loyalty, and access to capital. Initially designed for large corporates, institutions such as hospitals, universities, government offices, stadia, clubs, facilities, events, sports associations and teams participate and benefit.

About UNEP

Established in 1972, the United Nations Environment Programme is the voice for the environment within the United Nations system. UNEP acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the wise use and sustainable development of the global environment. UNEP’s Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA) was adopted by the international community in 1995 and “aims at preventing the degradation of the marine environment from land-based activities by facilitating the realization of the duty of States to preserve and protect the marine environment.”