switzerlandde
Fighting plastic pollution, one bottle at a time

Fighting plastic pollution, one bottle at a time

20-05-2019 | Einblicke

A smartphone app used to find free water refills on the go has now been downloaded over 100,000 times.

  • Carola van Lamoen
    Carola
    van Lamoen
    Head of Sustainable Investing
  • Peter van der Werf
    Peter
    van der Werf
    Engagement Specialist

Speed read

  • Robeco co-sponsors City to Sea and its Refill tap water campaign
  • Founder applauds use of engagement to ‘work within the system’
  • Move forms part of wider efforts to cut plastic pollution at source

Under the Refill scheme, thirsty Britons can replenish their bottles with tap water provided free at 18,000 high street shops, cafes or businesses listed on the app, rather than buying and then discarding plastic bottles.

The initiative by City to Sea – a UK not-for-profit organization committed to fighting plastic pollution – is supported by the UK water industry. Robeco signed a sponsorship partnership with City to Sea in October 2018 because, as pioneers of sustainable investing, we too are dedicated to protecting the environment. Cutting plastic pollution by talking directly with producers to find solutions to the problem is one of Robeco’s four engagement objectives for 2019.

One million plastic bottles are bought globally every minute, of which nine out of ten are single use. Many end up in the ocean, with 8 million metric tons of plastic dumped at sea each year. Aside from the sheer waste, it presents a major threat to marine life, killing millions of sea creatures every year. This now presents a threat to human health as well, as plastic is ingested by fish and enters the food chain.

Aktuelle Einblicke zum Thema Nachhaltigkeit
Aktuelle Einblicke zum Thema Nachhaltigkeit
Anmelden

Scary statistics

Research by Refill shows that the average person in the UK will use 150 plastic water bottles every year, of which half are not recycled. More than 15 million are littered, landfilled or incinerated every day, producing 233,000 tons of CO2 emissions a year. If just one in ten people refilled once a week, it would mean 340 million less plastic bottles a year in circulation.

“We’ve increased our number of app users past 100,000, and have also increased the retention of app users, so more people are coming back to use it, which is great,” says Natalie Fee, founder of City to Sea. “That is spread over 160 local schemes managed by over 250 volunteers who run Refill in their communities. And we’re now expanding into Europe, working with Refill in the Netherlands, New Zealand, Japan and Greece.”

“Robeco has helped us to put more funding in the app to help with the roll-out of Refill London, and it’s a win-win, because Robeco can then use the Refill brand at industry events to engage with this issue and give people a tangible experience of stopping plastic pollution.”

Natalie Fee
Natalie Fee
Founder of City to Sea

The power of engagement

Fee says she decided to work with Robeco after realizing that engaging with investee companies to solve environmental, social or governance (ESG) problems can be as, if not more effective, as boycotting them through exclusions. It follows recent success with a ground-breaking agreement to set short-term carbon footprint targets linked to executive pay at Royal Dutch Shell.

“I’m really excited about Robeco engaging on plastic for the next three years,” she says. “It helps me learn and get a different perspective, and feel more optimistic about the change coming from within the corporations, as the plastic polluters have more pressure from their shareholders.”

“Robeco invests in the companies we campaign against, so initially it didn’t seem like a resonant partnership. But after a lot of reading, meetings and due diligence, I learnt about the power that Robeco can have through active engagement. What turned it for me was seeing the changes that Robeco has brought about at Shell.”

Working within the system

“It’s a way of working within the system. It may still mean increased returns for the investors, but it can certainly speed up the changes we so desperately need to see when it comes to companies taking responsibility for their emissions and polluting practices.” Robeco’s three-year engagement will focus on food and beverage producers that make extensive use of plastic bottles and food trays for packaging, along with the plastics manufacturers themselves. As part of this program, Robeco has become a signatory to the Plastic Solutions Investor Alliance, an international coalition of investors that engages with publicly traded consumer goods companies on the threat posed by plastic waste and pollution. It also supports the Ellen MacArthur initiative, a campaign started by the former round-the-world yachtswoman to move to a recycling-based, circular economy.

“With our engagement, we aim to stimulate the transition to recyclable, reusable and/or compostable packaging,” says Carola van Lamoen, Head of Active Ownership at Robeco. “We have full support from both our clients and our own investment teams for our engagement program on single-use plastic. We see a growing awareness among companies, investors and other stakeholders that single use plastic is a material topic that needs to be addressed. We collaborate with other investors in our dialogues with companies; our partnership with City to Sea further strengthens our engagement approach.”

Making a difference

It is starting to make a difference at a corporate level. “Attending the Plastic Recycling Show Europe in Amsterdam in April 2019 showed us that many industry players are now setting targets to increase use of recycled plastic in their products to support a transition to a circular economy for plastics,” says Peter van der Werf, Senior Engagement Specialist at Robeco.

“We encouraged petrochemical companies that produce virgin plastic material to diversify by investing in recycling capacity. In addition, we asked beverage companies to support deposit return schemes globally to increase their ability to source recycled PET for their bottles”

Logo

Zugangsbeschränkung / Haftungsausschluss

Die auf diesen Seiten enthaltenen Informationen dienen Marketingzwecken und sind ausschliesslich für (i) qualifizierte Anleger gemäss dem Schweizer Bundesgesetz über die kollektiven Kapitalanlagen vom 23. Juni 2006 („KAG“), (ii) Professionelle Kunden gemäss Anhang II der Richtlinie über Märkte für Finanzinstrumente (2014/65/EU; „MiFID II“) mit Sitz in der Europäischen Union oder im Europäischen Wirtschaftsraum mit einer entsprechenden Lizenz zur Erbringung von Vertriebs- / Angebotshandlungen im Zusammenhang mit Finanzinstrumenten oder für (iii) solche, die hiermit aus eigener Initiative entsprechende Informationen zu spezifischen Finanzinstrumenten erfragen und als professionelle Kunden qualifizieren.

Die Fonds haben ihren Sitz in Luxemburg oder den Niederlanden. Die ACOLIN Fund Services AG, Postanschrift: Affolternstrasse 56, 8050 Zürich, agiert als Schweizer Vertreter der Fonds. UBS Switzerland AG, Bahnhofstrasse 45, 8001 Zürich, Postanschrift: Europastrasse 2, P.O. Box, CH-8152 Opfikon, fungiert als Schweizer Zahlstelle. Der Prospekt, die Key Investor Information Documents (KIIDs), die Satzung, die Jahres- und Halbjahresberichte der Fonds sind auf einfache Anfrage hin und kostenlos im beim Schweizer Vertreter ACOLIN Fund Services AG erhältlich. Die Prospekte sind auch über die Website www.robeco.ch verfügbar.

Einige Fonds, über die Informationen auf dieser Website angezeigt werden, fallen möglicherweise nicht in den Geltungsbereich des KAG und müssen daher nicht über eine entsprechende Genehmigung durch die Eidgenössische Finanzmarktaufsicht FINMA verfügen. Einige Fonds sind in Ihrem Wohnsitz- / Sitzstaat möglicherweise nicht verfügbar. Bitte überprüfen Sie den Registrierungsstatus in Ihrem jeweiligen Wohnsitz- / Sitzstaat. Um die in Ihrem Land registrierten Produkte anzuzeigen, gehen Sie bitte zur jeweiligen Länderauswahl, die auf dieser Website zu finden ist, und wählen Sie Ihr Wohnsitz- / Sitzstaat aus.

Weder Informationen noch Meinungen auf dieser Website stellen eine Aufforderung, ein Angebot oder eine Empfehlung zum Kauf, Verkauf oder einer anderweitigen Verfügung eines Finanzinstrumentes dar. Die Informationen auf dieser Webseite stellen keine Anlageberatung oder anderweitige Dienstleistung der Robeco Switzerland Ltd dar. Eine Investition in ein Produkt von Robeco Switzerland Ltd sollte erst erfolgen, nachdem die entsprechenden rechtlichen Dokumente wie Verwaltungsvorschriften, Prospekt, Jahres- und Halbjahresberichte konsultiert wurden.

Durch Klicken auf "Ich stimme zu" bestätigen Sie, dass Sie resp. die von Ihnen vertretene juristische Person eine der oben genannten Kategorien von Adressaten fallen und dass Sie die Nutzungsbedingungen für diese Website gelesen, verstanden und akzeptiert haben.

Nicht Zustimmen