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The Next Step in Corporate Sustainability: Valuing Plastic

By Doug Woodring

- Published on September 16, 2014 by Wharton Journal

Plastic is one of the most useful and important materials in modern society. Without the vast range of products and technologies it enables, life would be difficult. Yet the environmental impacts of plastic cannot be ignored. Concerns are growing about its effect on the world’s ecosystems. Plastic impacts our waters, health, tourism and fishing when it reaches our environment, increasing the external costs to our communities as plastic consumption continues to rise. As I have written before (read “Plastic Pollution Solutions”), business operations may be missing out on beneficial value creation by failing to manage plastic as a valuable material at the end of its initial intended life.

Valuing Plastic—The Business Case for Measuring, Managing and Reporting Plastic Use in the Consumer Goods Industry is a seminal report written by the Plastic Disclosure Project (PDP), Trucost and the United Nations Environment Program, on the natural capital cost of plastic. This report is a watershed document that we hope the global community of sustainability professionals, asset managers and brand owners become familiar with.


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