TO MARK Plastic Free July, the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility, a Christian charity, has launched a new campaign calling on banks to stop their financing of the world’s biggest plastic polluters and act to end the global plastic crisis.
Only nine per cent of the world’s plastic is recycled, and, according to the World Economic Forum, 32 per cent of all plastic packaging ends up in the ocean. This equates to a bin lorry of plastic waste being poured into the seas every minute. Seventy-three per cent of beach litter is plastic. Plastic pollution is now so all-encompassing that a study in the journal Environmental Pollution found that the average person consumes 70,000 pieces of microplastic each year.
The new campaign, Don’t Bank on Plastics, urges people to contact their bank through the ECCR’s Money Makes Change website, and ask them to take action. High-street banks such as HSBC, Barclays, and NatWest provide finance to single-use plastic producers and the plastic packaging industry, and so have the power to influence these companies’ activities.
The programme manager of Money Makes Change, Rosie Venner, said: “The global plastic crisis is threatening God’s creation. The way we produce and dispose of plastics is polluting oceans, endangering people’s health, and fuelling climate change. Many of us, in our homes and churches, have cut down on single-use plastic packaging. This is important, but it’s not enough. The system needs to change.
“Banks are heavily involved in financing and investing in the world’s biggest plastic producers and polluters. [The] UK-based bank Barclays, for example, tops the list of banks financing single-use plastic waste, according to the Plastic Waste Makers Index.
“It doesn’t have to be this way. Banks have a vital role to play in tackling plastic pollution. As customers, we can use our voice to call for change. We can ask banks to limit their financing of the biggest plastic producers and polluters, engage with companies for change, and play their part in ending the plastic crisis.”
ECCR says that the Money Makes Change Hub is designed to equip Christians to connect their faith and their finances for a “fairer, greener world”.
For further information visit www.eccr.org.uk.