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Products of Change: Spring Column: Providing the Tools for Positive Change

Products of Change: Spring Column: Providing the Tools for Positive Change

Robert Hutchins, Editor, Products of Change, writes about the industry playing an active role in change

By the time you read this, intelligent and fiercely passionate negotiators from around the world would have sat down for the fourth round of discussions over what on earth we’re all going to do about this plastic pollution problem we have.

From sustainable production and consumption to a necessary shift towards a circular plastic approach, it would have been all on the table when representative stakeholders and policy-makers convened for the fourth time this April to thrash out the wording of a legally-binding instrument to tackle the issue globally.

430 million tonnes of plastic 

To recap, the issue is that we are currently producing 430 million tonnes of plastic a year. Two-thirds of this is simply thrown away, into the environment and ultimately – you would have all seen by now – into the food chain. And that’s a problem because not many things on the planet are predisposed for eating plastic particles…

Heading to double figures?

What it’s costing us – in terms of impact upon ecosystems, climate, the economy, and human health is somewhere between $300bn and $600bn a year. And, if we continue unabated, all these figures would have doubled in the next 20 years.

Which is why these impassioned negotiators are eking out the details of what is to be the UN Plastic Treaty. And you can rest assured it’s going to impact business in a big way. But then, if you’ve been keeping up to date with your policy negotiations, you’d know this is just the latest in a long line of legislative levers destined to turn the business landscape completely on its head.


We have EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility), which is both now in force (in terms of collecting and supplying your packaging data) and in the pipeline (in terms of introducing its financial obligations in 2025); DRS (Deposit Return Schemes) in effect in three of the four devolved nations (of course we’re waiting for England to catch up); CSRD (the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive); and at some point or another – and entirely dependent on when certain EU Member States stop playing for time – CSDDD (Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive). There are more, but this is enough to comprehend.

Time to make the changes

The thing is, business is a beautiful vehicle for change. And while much of the above will present a rather tasty looking tax revenue for governments looking to reinvest in infrastructure for a circular economy, far better that businesses make the positive changes now and transition for a more sustainable future. Before the taxman comes knocking.

Connecting, working together

To help the many, wonderful businesses in our vastly creative sector navigate this tsunami of incoming legislation, Products of Change is galvanizing industry, bringing us all together to create and provide the tools and resources to build towards that better future. Via our revamped website, Products of Change members can connect quickly and easily, access resources, education, and join the working groups and conversations that are now laying the foundations for how our businesses can adapt and move with the shifting landscape.

You may have spotted, we recently went not-for-profit on our membership business. It’s been a dream from the very start, that we can now reinvest directly into the industry to drive positive impact through the resources and tools for change we provide. So, play an active role in this global strive for a better tomorrow and get stuck in.

Get involved…

About The Author

Rebecca Ash

Rebecca is the Editorial Director at Total Licensing Ltd. She can be reached at

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