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Pollution | 19 October 2021

The unbearable cost of single-use plastics

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The unbearable cost of single-use plastics

Companies in the food industry, food multinationals and supermarket chains, place most of the single-use plastics on the market. They therefore bear a great responsibility for plastic pollution. Instead of investing in structural change, the food industry often promotes false or limited solutions to the plastic crisis, such as beach clean-ups or chemical recycling.

By supporting these companies unconditionally, banks are financing plastic pollution.

Research by FairFin commissioned by ClientEarth exposes the financial links between banks active in Belgium and nine companies in the food industry, worth more than 78 billion euros since 2015. Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas and ING stand out in particular.

Not only is this unacceptable from a moral point of view, there are also serious financial risks attached
to single-use plastics. Because the food industry is so dependent on single-use packaging, it is extra vulnerable to those risks. But in the pursuit of quick profits, they continue to ignore those risks.

The social and ecological consequences of single-use plastics are so large that we cannot continue like this. A movement to hold companies with a large plastic footprint responsible has already led to significant new regulation, which is only set to become tougher and more restrictive in the coming years. The longer companies wait to adapt, the greater the risk of financial loss.

This report is also available in Dutch: