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How top FMCG firms plan to cut plastic use

By Jyoti Mukul & Arnab Dutta
May 28, 2018 17:41 IST
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India will be the global host this year for World Environment Day, with the theme “Beat Plastic Pollution”.

About six companies such as ITC, Procter & Gamble (P&G), Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) and Haldiram, besides the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), will announce globally cutting down on their carbon footprint and plastic use at an event to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on World Environment Day, June 5.


India will be the global host this year for World Environment Day, with the theme “Beat Plastic Pollution”.

As part of this, the government has asked these consumer-facing companies to take the pledge.

While P&G is likely to announce phasing out the plastic packaging of its Pampers diapers and the Whisper brand of sanitary napkin, the BCCI is running a campaign for making the Indian Premier League (IPL) plastic-free.

In the case of HUL, Sanjiv Mehta, chief executive officer and managing director, along with executive directors Pradeep Banerjee and Priya Nair, will attend the event.

“Unilever has a simple but clear purpose – to make sustainable living commonplace and our vision is to grow our business while reducing our environmental impact and increasing our positive social impact. The Unilever Sustainable Plan (USLP) is our blueprint to achieve our vision.

"For the last two years, all our factory sites have become zero hazardous waste to landfills, we have reduced our carbon dioxide emissions, waste and water consumption by more than 50 per cent over the baseline of 2008,” said an HUL spokesperson. Last year, Unilever made a commitment that by 2025 all its plastic packaging would be fully reusable, recyclable, or compostable.

“Our environmental footprint is a fraction of the overall industry footprint; to make a meaningful difference, there is a need for collaborative efforts among all stakeholders - industry, government, NGOs, civil society, etc.

"World Environment Day is an opportunity for all stakeholders to come together and recommit themselves to work towards a sustainable future.”

Sanjiv Puri, managing director of ITC, will attend the event, which will take place at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. ITC will make a pledge relating to the theme of the event.

“The problem of solid waste management is one of epic proportions and requires each organ of society and, more so, enterprises that are large economic organs of the society, to make a meaningful contribution towards this in line with the Prime Minister’s path breaking initiative of Swachh Bharat.

"We in ITC are extremely committed through our initiative of Wellbeing out of Waste (WOW), which seeks to evolve a sustainable and a scalable solution to segregate, collect and promote, reuse or recycle solid waste,” said Puri in an emailed response.

ITC said benefits of these programmes were available to 7.7 million Indians.

In his Mann ki Baat address on Sunday, Modi said under the theme “Beat Plastic Pollution”, citizens should not use low-grade polythene and plastic, and try to curb the negative impact of plastic pollution on the environment, wildlife and health.

Erik Solheim, executive director, United Nations Environment Programme, will attend more than 34 events in Maharashtra, including the inauguration of charging points for electric buses.

“India will be a great global host of 2018’s World Environment Day celebrations. India will now help galvanise greater action on plastics pollution. It’s a global emergency,” Solheim said in a message earlier.

The plastic math

500 bn

No. of plastic bags used globally in a year

8 mn tonnes

Amount of plastic that ends up in the oceans every year


Plastic is used for single-use

1 mn

No. of plastic bottles bought every minute


Share of plastic in total waste generation

Photograph: Ajay Verma/Reuters

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Jyoti Mukul & Arnab Dutta
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