Ahead of the next negotiations to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution (INC-3) next month, the UNEP FI-Convened Finance Leadership Group on Plastics publishes today Redirecting financial flows to end plastic pollution, a comprehensive paper for negotiators and the finance industry on the role and requirements of the sector to enable the transition towards pollution-free economies.

Under a business-as-usual scenario, the volume of mismanaged plastics waste is projected to grow substantially to well over 250 million metric tons annually by 2040, leading to significant costs to the environment, human health and the economy. Given the seriousness of the situation, beating plastic pollution can only be achieved through a system change estimated to require a USD 1.64 trillion investment by 2040 and a massive redirection of financial flows. The three main market shifts identified in UNEP’s Turning off the Tap report are towards increasing reuse business models (Reuse), increasing safe and environmentally sound recycling (Recycle), and alternative materials (Reorient & Diversify), in addition to reducing the use of plastics and dealing with existing pollution.

Based on the ten key messages to align financial flows with the objective of ending plastic pollution published by the Finance Leadership Group ahead of the second meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-2), this paper focuses on how the future instrument can enable the systemic change needed to redirect global financial flows to end plastic pollution. It welcomes the existing provisions of the Zero Draft to redirect financial flows towards ending plastic pollution, and proposes possible amendments to strengthen it by including:

(i) an objective to align financial flows from all sources with the objective of the instrument in order to send a strong message on the imperative to redirect financial flows, similar to the message sent in article 2.1c of the Paris Agreement and in goal D of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

(ii) a cross-cutting obligation to create the mandatory framework and enabling environment for finance mobilisation.

Finally, the paper illustrates how the redirections of financial flows towards solutions go through different phases depending on their market maturity level, and how they can be supported by a combination of different financial actors and instruments.

Download the paper Redirecting financial flows to end plastic pollution here.

About the Finance Leadership Group on Plastics

Formed in early 2023, the Finance Leadership Group on Plastics is a core group of banks and insurers with total assets of USD 9.8 trillion convened by UNEP FI and sponsored by the Minderoo Foundation. Its members are working towards ending plastic pollution by supporting the development of the international legally binding instrument and building readiness across the global finance sector to respond to the future instrument. Read more.