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Marine Plastic Waste and the Circular Economy:
Building Long-term Solutions to Immediate Challenges

18 March 2015 | Washington, DC, US


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Web CoverageAbout | 18 Mar
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HRH The Prince of Wales addresses the high-level session

The Prince’s Charities International Sustainability Unit (established by HRH The Prince of Wales) and the Global Ocean Commission convened a meeting, titled “Marine Plastic Waste and the Circular Economy: Building Long-term Solutions to Immediate Challenges,” on 18 March 2015, in Washington, DC, US. Taking place at the Hay-Adams Hotel, one block from the White House, the event gathered approximately 90 representatives from business and industry, governments and civil society. In addition to statements, panel presentations and roundtable dialogues, a high-level session convened in the afternoon to hear from HRH The Prince of Wales and Co-Chairs of the Global Ocean Commission David Miliband and José María Figueres.

The event sought to facilitate a dialogue framed around four broad areas: linkages between short-term action on preventing and eliminating plastic waste from entering the marine environment, and longer-term systemic change towards a circular economy; opportunities for the private sector to collaborate with other stakeholders to scale up waste management approaches; gaps in knowledge and data required to address plastic waste entering the marine environment; and the need to integrate regional and local stakeholders into the global narrative.

Participants emphasized, inter alia, the importance of developing a global road map that is “owned” by all stakeholders, and discussed the needs for financing partnerships and pilot projects from which lessons learned could be analyzed and scaled up. The possibilities of adopting an ambitious, long-term goal of zero plastic waste into the marine environment were discussed. Assessments of the costs of inaction were also proposed, as was a waste management innovation fund. And some participants urged calling for developing a better understanding of the toxicities and impacts of plastics in the ocean on humans.

IISD Reporting Services has provided a summary report of the meeting in HTML and PDF format.


David Miliband, Co-Chair of the Global Ocean Commission
and President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, addresses the high-level session.

José María Figueres, Co-Chair of the Global Ocean Commission and Former President of Costa Rica, addresses the high-level session.


Catherine Novelli, US Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, addresses the opening session.

Cal Dooley, President and CEO of the
American Chemistry Council, listens to speakers.


Tony Juniper, Special Adviser to The Prince’s Charities International Sustainability Unit (established by HRH The Prince of Wales), moderated the panel on “Systems thinking on waste: can the circular economy provide long-term solutions for plastic waste in the marine environment?” Panelists (L-R): Andrew Morlet, CEO, Ellen MacArthur Foundation; April Crow, Global Sustainability Director, Coca-Cola; Doug Woodring, Co-Founder, Plastic Disclosure Project; Steve Russell, Vice President Plastics, American Chemistry Council; and Alan Sielen, Senior Fellow for International Environmental Policy at the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.


Participants engaged in roundtable discussions after the panel presentations


Questions that were discussed during the first roundtable session

Questions that were discussed during the second roundtable session


The view from the venue: White House, Washington Monument and Thomas Jefferson memorial
Specific funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by the Global Ocean Commission
Global Ocean Commission

Web CoverageAbout | 18 Mar