Plastic Disclosure Project Launched At Clinton Global Initiative’s Opening Plenary, Receives Support From Global Asset Managers With Over $5 Trillion Investments Under Management

September 21, 2010

Plastic Disclosure Project Driven by the Community of Socially Responsible Investors around the World, Aimed at the Global Reduction of Plastic Waste

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — During the opening plenary session, President Bill Clinton formally kicked-off the Plastic Disclosure Project (PDP), announcing collaboration with Doug Woodring, one of the co-founders of Project Kaisei, and his project partners ASrIA (The Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia) and HKUST (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology) to implement the tracking and reporting of plastics used inside businesses. The worldwide rollout of PDP will continue at a series of high profile events around the globe. Beginning in New York, NY at the Clinton Global Initiative’s Annual meeting, followed by presentations at the Wharton School of Business and the Hong Kong HKUST Business School, the PDP has received the support of leading global asset managers.

PDP will be an annual survey, asked on behalf of the world’s investment community, of companies regarding their use of plastic. This will allow managers at both investment firms, as well as within companies themselves, to start thinking about where money can be saved, new designs adopted, and material reductions can take place in order to help improve environmental, waste and health impacts. As with the Carbon Disclosure Project’s (CDP) carbon and water initiatives, PDP will contribute to transparency in reporting the corporate use of plastic within operations and supply chains, as well as plastics management and governance.

According to Doug Woodring, co-founder and director of Project Kaisei, “Plastic and other waste in the ocean has caused a large impact on the environment and ecosystem, much of which is only just becoming understood. It can kill marine life, may be entering our food chain, and can have a negative effect on people’s health and safety. Global consumption of plastic has outstripped our infrastructure in waste management. It is estimated that over 70% of the plastic and other waste in the ocean enters from land based sources, and this has spurred urgent attention on its environmental impact.”

Erik Floyd, Joint Executive Director of ASrIA, said “We are pleased to have been asked to join in launching this important corporate disclosure initiative. During summer 2010, we advised HKUST on a worldwide survey by HKUST MBA students of investors to determine their interest in plastic disclosure by corporates. The student survey found a high level of interest among the investors who replied to the survey. ASrIA has been an operating partner of the Carbon Disclosure Project in Asia for the past five years, and based on that experience we look forward to effectively launching the Plastic Disclosure Project in collaboration with our partners.”

Credit Suisse is one of the first participants in the inaugural PDP inquiry, and has expressed commitment to include plastic related strategies and issues as part of their comprehensive analysis of the environmental and social impacts of portfolio companies. Fund managers will leverage the comprehensive database of plastic use and disposal implementations that will be a core part of the PDP. “As an incredibly versatile material, plastic is ubiquitous, but its improper disposal also makes it a major contributor to coastal zone and marine pollution,” said Ben Ridley, Head of Sustainability Affairs at Credit Suisse/Asia. “The PDP can help get the issue onto the business radar and is a reminder of everyone’s responsibility to reduce, reuse and recycle.”

Plastic’s Environmental Impact

There are growing indications that the cumulative effect of plastic use as a common business component is having increasingly harmful environmental impacts. Recent studies include the following data:

  • More than 7 million tons of garbage reaches the marine environment every year according to the UNEP.
  • Most plastic is not biodegradable, and the decomposition of many types of plastic can take hundreds of years.
  • It is estimated that less than 15% of plastic gets recycled.

About Plastic Disclosure Project

The Plastics Disclosure Project [will be] an investor led initiative requesting corporates to assess and disclose their production, use and handling of plastics and plastic wastes. Project Kaisei, in collaboration with ASrIA and HKUST, will organize the annual survey on behalf of the investor signatories. HKUST will provide research support. The project partners hope to launch the inaugural survey in first half 2011, subject to negotiating an operating agreement and putting in place the necessary survey infrastructure. Investment institutions interested to know more about the project or who wish to join as signatories to the project are encouraged to contact Project Kaisei or ASrIA. Corporate responses to the survey will be made publically available, where agreed by the responding corporates. All responses will be fully available to the investor signatories. A public report, summarizing the survey findings, will be published on an annual basis. Questionnaires will be circulated on behalf of the investors to a global list of corporates, in particular in sectors which are identified as having significant plastic footprints. Any corporates interested in participating in the project are also welcome to contact Doug Woodring or ASrIA.

About Project Kaisei

Project Kaisei is the two-year old ocean clean-up initiative based in San Francisco and Hong Kong. Project Kaisei, which is a 2010 participant in Clinton Global Initiative‘s “Rethinking Waste” program, is a collaboration-focused organization dedicated to finding a solution to the ocean plastic debris problem. The group’s mission includes studying the trends and causes of water pollution, leading the coordination of large-scale clean-up initiatives to eliminate floating garbage patches in the ocean, and proactively educating citizens on prevention and conservation. Project Kaisei also serves as a catalyst to bring together public and private collaborators to design, test and implement breakthroughs in science, prevention and remediation. During summer 2010, Project Kaisei launched its second expedition to the North Pacific Gyre, where it continued its research with the University of Hawaii, NOAA and Ocean Conservancy, in order to obtain more date on collection and cleanup activities in the future.

About Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)

The HKUST Business School, since its establishment in 1991, has earned its reputation as one of the youngest and most respected business schools in Asia. It is the first school in the region to be awarded accreditation by both the US-based Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) and European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS).

The HKUST MBA program is a diverse program comprising students from over 27 nationalities. The program is ranked No. 9 in the world and No. 1 in Asia by Financial Times MBA Rankings 2010, thereby being the first Asian business school to advance to the top 10 schools in the world.

About ASrIA

The Association for Sustainable & Responsible Investment in Asia (ASrIA) is a not for profit, membership association dedicated to promoting corporate responsibility and sustainable investment practice in the Asia Pacific region. ASrIA’s members include investment institutions managing over US$4 trillion in assets however membership is open to any organization which has an interest in sustainable investment. ASrIA’s goal is to build market capacity for SRI. We provide insightful, up to date and accessible information on the development of SRI in Asia and globally. We have also become the platform for different sectors within the community to exchange information and perspectives on SRI, and to take practice forward. http://www.asria.org

About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 125 current and former heads of state, 15 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made more than 1,700 commitments valued at $57 billion, which have already improved the lives of 220 million people in more than 170 countries. The CGI community also includes CGI University (CGI U), a forum to engage college students in global citizenship, MyCommitment.org, an online portal where anybody can make a Commitment to Action, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young leaders from business, government, and civil society. For more information, visit www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.

SOURCE Project Kaisei

Source: newswire

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