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New Global Initiative To Uplift Informal Workers In Plastic Waste Value Chain

By Outlook Planet Desk June 30, 2023

By convening and facilitating all value chain actors to adopt harmonized responsible sourcing practices, the initiative has set targets to improve livelihoods for an estimated 50,000 informal waste workers

New Global Initiative To Uplift Informal Workers In Plastic Waste Value Chain
The Responsible Sourcing Initiative offers a systemic approach to building inclusive and resilient recycled plastic supply chains across emerging markets.
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The Circulate Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to solving the ocean plastic pollution challenge in emerging markets, announced the launch of its Responsible Sourcing Initiative to uplift informal waste workers and address the most pressing human rights issues in the plastic waste recycling supply chain.

The launch follows the latest mandate to prepare the first draft of the legally binding instrument on plastic pollution by the end of November, where recognition of the roles and contributions of informal waste workers will be key to its success. 
 
By convening and facilitating all value chain actors to adopt harmonized responsible sourcing practices, the initiative has set targets to improve livelihoods for an estimated 50,000 informal waste workers, and secure the commitment of over 25 global brands, investors, recyclers and aggregators by 2025. 

Joining Minderoo Foundation and The Coca-Cola Company, the Responsible Sourcing Initiative is supported by Circulate Capital, First Mile, and Tearfund as its initiative partners. On-ground activities will be supported by strategic implementation partners across the plastics waste value chain, including brands, investors, recycling and collection companies and informal waste worker associations.

Plastic waste management and recycling rely heavily on the informal sector, which is comprised of an estimated 15-20 million informal workers globally   . Informal waste workers are responsible for approximately 58% of collected and recycled plastic waste   . They often work in unsafe and hazardous environments and face increased vulnerability to poor health, injury and illnesses. 

As companies gear up to deliver on their sustainability commitments in the face of increased scrutiny from regulatory bodies such as the European Union, there is growing momentum to create responsible supply chains for recycled plastic. Against a backdrop of increased urgency, the Responsible Sourcing Initiative offers a systemic approach to building inclusive and resilient recycled plastic supply chains across emerging markets. Key activities include:
 
Aligning brands, investors, recyclers, aggregators and waste worker associations on an action-oriented framework that forms a shared understanding of responsible sourcing, success metrics and how progress will be tracked.

Working with implementation and local partners across the full value chain to identify and invest in projects in India, Indonesia, Kenya and Vietnam, to improve human rights practices and increase the supply of responsibly sourced recycled plastics.

Measuring impact and disseminating findings from local projects to replicate success in other markets.

Conducting research with global and local partners to fill knowledge gaps and provide localized supply chain assessments.

“Our work continues to demonstrate the value informal waste workers bring to the world’s pursuit of circularity. We need to transform their roles within the ecosystem to recognize the importance of their contribution, provide safer and more dignified working environments, and improve their livelihoods,” said Annerieke Douma, Director of Programs at The Circulate Initiative. 

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