Iceland pledges to become plastic neutral with launch of new plastic recovery programme
Iceland Foods has announced it will offset its plastic footprint as it works towards becoming plastic-free across its own label packaging.
The supermarket chain yesterday unveiled fresh plans to recover and recycle nature-bound plastic waste equivalent to the supermarket’s plastic footprint in response to warnings from the UN Global Assessment of Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution that marine litter and plastic pollution poses a growing threat.
Iceland announced it has partnered with Seven Clean Seas, an organisation headquartered in Singapore that runs ocean clean-up projects in Indonesia and Thailand, to design a global waste plastic recovery programme. The programme will fund and establish community and municipal plastic waste collection projects and the environmental interception of nature-bound plastics in developing countries with high waste leakage. Where possible, the supermarket plans to recycle the recovered plastics, it said.
“The UN Global Assessment of Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution is stark – plastic pollution is out of control and a major threat ecologically, to our climate and to human health,” said Richard Walker, the managing director of Iceland Foods. “We are committed on our journey to become plastic-free across our own label range, but we need to do more than that and we need to do it immediately.
“We all know that, in the long term, the industry cannot recycle or offset its way out of the plastic crisis and, while we remain firmly fixed on plastic reduction, this is another important milestone in our journey to becoming plastic-free. I would ask our other supermarkets to urgently consider becoming plastic neutral as they too look to turn down the tap on plastic production altogether.”
Commenting on the partnership, Thomas Peacock-Nazil, chief executive and founder of Seven Clean Seas, said: “This investment is transformational – it will enable us to generate enormous environmental and social impact whilst protecting our oceans, the Earth’s most important ecosystem from plastic pollution. We are hopeful that it will prompt other retail brands to minimise their plastic footprints and take a more conscientious approach to managing their plastic consumption.”
Walker urged every Iceland supplier to join the new initiative and called for the establishment of an internationally standardised system and certification for plastic recovery and offsetting that would allow more businesses to respond to UNEP’s warnings. “The great work undertaken by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) across carbon shows what can be achieved by the creation of standardised independently verifiable frameworks,” he said.
Iceland has pledged to become plastic-free across its own brand range by 2023 and has reported a 29 per cent reduction in own label plastic packaging since 2017. “Whilst we may not achieve our target by the end of 2023, due to setbacks caused by the pandemic and lack of commercially viable innovation, we remain focused on our target and will not stop until we have delivered what we set out to,” Walker said.