Nestlé is one of the world’s top producers of plastic waste, but its CEO objects to the idea that corporations should substantially pick up the tab for this toxic pollution.
Challenged to explain how his company plans to respond to the global treaty on plastics pollution now in the works, Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider said it’s governments that need to take more accountability, reports Eco-Business.
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“It shouldn’t have to be us all the time,” he told an event hosted by a Geneva-based investment firm. “To simply point at one actor in the system and say, ‘thou shalt solve the problem’ will not get us very far.”
A session participant who said she came from a small Balkan state countered that her country was struggling with an acute pollution problem worsened by plastics, and added that the waste management budget of her entire country—let alone city municipalities—was “nothing compared” to Nestlé’s budget.
It is companies like Nestlé—not governments or consumers—who pollute and have the money to deal with it, she said.
Arguing that “extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws already hold companies responsible for plastic waste,” Schneider said he hoped the proposed UN treaty on plastic pollution would “level the playing field” by asking governments to assume a greater share of cleanup costs. The treaty now has the backing of some 170 countries and 80 companies, including Nestlé.
But EPR laws are by no means global in their application, Eco-Business writes, noting that most of them concentrated in developed countries. The measures have “limited presence in the Global South, where plastic waste is having the biggest impact on natural ecosystems.”
“A debate over how to implement EPR laws is expected to be central to the global plastics treaty,” the news report adds.