Introducing The Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues.

Connecting and catalyzing ALL of the voices central to the ocean plastics crisis to advance a global treaty for plastics.

In March 2021,
we came together...

2 Days
2 Time
Zones
Explored the Possibilities of a Global Agreement fot Plastics
230
Attendees
Learned from Issue Experts on the many facets of the plastic pollution crisis
140
Organizations
Connected with each other, hearing new perspectives and insights
34
Countries
Heard from world leaders and leaders working on the ground tackling plastic pollution
Get the recap

The Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues

The Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues is an activist-to-industry year long series of global online summits in advance of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) decision in February 2022 on whether to pursue a GlobalParis Agreement for Plastics.

An estimated 11 million metric tons of plastic enter our oceans each year. That’s a garbage truck and a half of plastic every minute of every day. If we delay dramatic action by just five years an additional 80 million metric tons of plastic will end in the ocean by 2040. That’s fourteen Great Pyramids or two hundred fifty Empire State Buildings worth of plastic trash

That won’t just mean more beached whales with stomachs full of plastic; the human consequences will be extreme too. Healthy ocean ecosystems absorb CO2. A dead ocean has dire consequences for the climate. Plastic has already been found in the air, in the rain, in our bodies, and in our food supply.

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Why the OPLN, WWF, and Greenpeace

The Ocean Plastics Leadership Network (OPLN) is a 90 member and growing, activist-to-industry organization dedicated to solving the ocean plastics crisis.
OPLN serves as a neutral convener and thought partner to its network, driving productive dialogue, understanding, and action to solve the incredibly complex ocean plastic crisis.

OPLN is a network rather than a coalition, bringing together people coming from very different perspectives. The goal is not to achieve consensus, but understanding - and hopefully new ideas and collaborations. Greenpeace and WWF, the two largest environmental campaigning organizations in the world, are playing a major role in helping OPLN produce an effective and inclusive series of dialogues, but their involvement does not imply partnership with all participants or endorsement of all proposals discussed or outputs shared. OPLN views constructive tension - even among parties with views that can seem diametrically opposed - as key to progress.

Atlantic Garbage Patch

In May of 2019, OPLN gathered 165 public and private sector leaders from organizations including Coca-Cola, Dow, Greenpeace, the American Chemistry Council, the World Bank, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and representatives of some of the world’s 15 million informal waste collectors on a on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic Garbage Patch for four days. Attendees with wildly different visions, perspectives, strategies, and objectives had the opportunity to learn from one another and stretch their imaginations in the heart of the ocean plastic crisis. Boundary-pushing conversations amongst leaders that would have never seen themselves sitting in the same room together built trusting, authentic relationships that ultimately accelerated action.

Reactions from participants in the Ocean Plastics Leadership Summit in the Atlantic Garbage Patch.

About the Treaty

There is hope for agreement on a Global Plastics Treaty that matches the scale and urgency of the problem, but we must act fast.

Seventy one countries have now publicly called for a global plastics treaty, while major reports released in 2020 from industry, NGOs, and government provide a useful blueprint for discussions. WWF, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Boston Consulting Group laid out the business case for a global treaty, and 30 major companies have signed onto a "Business Call for a U.N. Treaty On Plastic Pollution." 

Environmental NGO groups also voiced their support for a plastics treaty in a report from the Center for International Environmental Law, the Environment Investigation Agency and GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives). The report has the backing of the Break Free from Plastic movement and Greenpeace. Finally, the Nordic Council of Ministers rolled out a 148-page report that provides a suggested framework and positioning for a future treaty.

These reports reveal there is already alignment on some fundamental points. All call for harmonized reporting on plastics throughout their life cycle, making it possible to account for everything that is being made and how it is handled..But fierce disagreements remain, The time for all parties to begin having the tough conversations required to bridge these gaps is now.

Business

Report compiled by World Wildlife Fund, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and Boston Consulting Group. Download

Government

Report compiled by Nordic Council of Ministers. Download

Environmental NGOs

Report compiled by CIEL, GAIA, EIA. Download

What to Expect

  • Deep engagement with stakeholder from across the stakeholder spectrum, including petrochemical companies, CPGs, governments, universities, and waste collecting organizations in the Global South;
  • The opportunity for your voice be heard, regardless of your perspective;
  • Better understanding of the nuances of what a treaty means for the world, and how your organization could be affected;
  • Momentum to continue solving this issue throughout the year;
  • Participation in technical mapping breakouts to deeply inform participants about global extended producer responsibility, human rights in the waste collector sector, and green chemistry;
  • Opportunities to engage no matter where you are in the world, with sessions happening globally.
What to Expect

The 2021 Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues

Deepening connection and understanding across the stakeholder map.

Join us for Dialogue II - July 28 & 29th

* Sessions will be run in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres to maximize participation and inclusion around the world.
* Additional Sessions in November, and February 2022
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Ocean Plastics Leadership Network (OPLN)?
The OPLN is a network of organizations dedicated to solving the ocean plastics crisis. Our members span the entire stakeholder map, from environmental NGOs, to industry, governments, and grassroots organizations in the Global South. “Tension equals progress” is the founding principle of our convenings, which take place experientially in the heart of the ocean plastic crisis (in non-Covid times), and currently via virtual meetings.
What is the Global Treaty Dialogue Series and why is the OPLN running this?
The United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) pushed a decision on whether to start negotiations on a Paris Agreement for Plastics from February 2021 to February 2022 due to Covid-19. When this decision to delay by one year was made in November 2020, the OPLN worked together with members including Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to envision a forum that would bring all stakeholders to the table to map their priorities and positions (many of which are in opposition). The Dialogues were created in the spirit of helping country negotiators understand this highly complex issue in a much deeper way ahead of UNEA-5 in February 2022. As each day passes, momentum for a Global Plastics Treaty is growing, but it is necessary to continue to drive towards action while ensuring the voices of all the organizations dedicated to solving this issue are heard. In short, OPLN has built a tremendous amount of trust and support across the stakeholder spectrum with which to speed progress toward the adoption of a strong and effective treaty.
What is the OPLN’s position on the treaty? Will the Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues participants be making a joint recommendation at the end of this process?
The OPLN is pro-global agreement, pro-urgency, and pro-engagement for all stakeholders. As a convenor, we have a neutral stance on what will actually appear in the Global Plastics Treaty. We believe all stakeholders (from activist to industry) should have a deep understanding of the collective stakeholder landscape and work together to build a more comprehensive worldview with respect to the ocean plastics crisis. As an organization, our foundational position on the ocean plastics crisis is rooted in the data put forth in the 2020 Breaking the Plastic Wave Report published by SYSTEMIQ and Pew Environment.

Breaking the Plastic Wave calls for the immediate scale-up of solutions across the spectrum, dramatically and urgently. This includes upstream solutions (policy initiatives, bans, reuse and refill models, alternative materials) and downstream solutions (fixing a broken recycling system, new technologies, and cleanups).

While OPLN is neutral with respect to specific solutions, we encourage participants in the Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues to have tough and honest conversations about all possible options. All topics should be on the table for discussion no matter how strong the disagreement, from virgin plastic reduction and phasing out single-use plastics to advanced recycling models (chemical recycling).

The Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues will not conclude with recommendations of what should appear in a global treaty. The core output from participants will be a series of stakeholder maps and summaries of views regarding the key issues that will help country negotiators and stakeholders understand the problem and each other more deeply with the goal of ensuring informed debate from the outset of the formal treaty development process.
What are the goals of the Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues?

Our goals are as follows: 

  1. To run a highly inclusive series of meetings engaging a wide range of stakeholders (environmental groups, industry, governments) and have a well-balanced set of organizations from the Global North and Global South representing the entire world. Our guiding mission is to build an inclusive platform where ALL voices will be heard. 
  2. To build a series of dynamic stakeholder maps describing the vast and chaotic stakeholder landscape to help all participants and country negotiators understand positions, commitments, power and inclusion dynamics, and trust dynamics. 
  3. To provide information and insights regarding key issues to drive action and progress for ALL parties involved in solving the ocean plastics crisis so that we do not skip a beat in advance of the Global Plastics Treaty decision at UNEA-5.2 in February 2022.
Who is participating and how can my organization participate?
Industry leaders, governments, and NGOs from the Global North and Global South will be represented at the Dialogues. Members of OPLN are sending a mix of executives and sustainability and policy experts, and there are over 80 organizations confirmed to date. This is an invitation-only series. The OPLN is extending scholarships to select organizations in the Global South and select NGO and government/public sector guests.

Industry leaders, governments, and NGOs from the Global North and Global South will be represented at the Dialogues. Members of OPLN are sending a mix of executives and sustainability and policy experts, and there are over 80 organizations confirmed to date. This is an invitation-only series. The OPLN is extending scholarships to select organizations in the Global South and select NGO and government/public sector guests.
I want to nominate an organization, what are the eligibility criteria?
Any organization can request an invitation via the OPLN.org website or the GlobalTreatyDialogues.org website. Organizations that are dedicated to solving the ocean plastics crisis and are willing to engage in productive dialogue are eligible, but participation is limited and all decisions will be made via guidance from the Ocean Plastics Leadership Network advisory board.
What are the fees to become a member of the Ocean Plastics Leadership Network and join the Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues?
Annual membership in the OPLN, which operates as a non-profit, ranges from $7500 to $20000 USD depending on an organization’s size and operating status. All OPLN members have the opportunity to participate in the Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues. Interested parties, particularly from the Global South, can apply for funding via the Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues Inclusion Fund.
What is the Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues Inclusion Fund?
The GTD Inclusion Fund was designed in consultation with our partners to ensure financial limitations do not prohibit the participation of non-profit organizations in the Global South.
What kinds of programming and activities will be taking place outside of the Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues?
In addition to the core four-part Dialogue Series that will take place in March, July, November, and February, the GTDs

Our Stewardship Council

Erin Simon
Erin Simon
WWF - Head, Plastic Waste + Business
Eirik Lindebjerg
Eirik Lindebjerg
WWF - Global Plastics Policy Manager
Vivien Luk
Vivien Luk
Executive Director, Work
John Hocevar
John Hocevar
Greenpeace, Oceans Campaign Director
Dave Ford
Dave Ford
Executive Director OPLN
Sian Sutherland
Sian Sutherland
Co-Founder, A Plastic Planet
ian rosenberg
Ian Rosenberg
Founder, First Mile
Yoni Shiran
Yoni Shiran
Partner, SYSTEMIQ, Co-Author- Breaking the Plastic Wave

85 Members Including

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