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Sustainability, Reducing the Use of Plastics in Packaging and Action on Climate and Trade

Recently Takealot announced that it would be using sustainable packaging. In this decision the South African ecommerce company was following other market leaders, such as Amazon. A lot is being done at both national and international level to encourage the reduction of plastics – there are a number of African countries, such as Kenya, which have already banned plastic shopping bags, and I can attest that the roads in Nairobi’s CBD are far less littered than in Joburg. The SA government still has to decide what it will do. Meanwhile, at the WTO the Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade made substantial progress at a meeting in May, introducing the coordinators’ draft vision on the way forward and elements for a potential outcome at the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) to be held in February 2024. The coordinators of the Dialogue hailed the draft elements as the culmination of extensive work over the past 2 years and a pivotal step towards achieving positive policy agreements.

Meanwhile, a new UNCTAD report examines connections among sustainability, consumer protection and competition policies and stresses that responsible consumption and production patterns – as outlined in the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12 – requires minimizing environmental impacts, enhancing resource efficiency and reducing waste. UNCTAD experts point out that competition and consumer protection policies are uniquely placed to help ensure sustainability goals.

The WTO, the World Bank Group and the World Economic Forum in April launched “Action on Climate and Trade” (ACT), a new initiative that aims to help participating developing economies, including least-developed countries, use trade to meet their climate change mitigation and adaptation goals. The new initiative, which starts with a pilot phase, will focus on working with participating developing economies to develop climate-related analysis specific to their trade circumstances.

Finally, in a trial run in the UK Mars bars (which are sold in SA as BarOne) are to be wrapped in recyclable paper wrappers instead of plastic.

Alastair Tempest

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