japanja
Fighting plastic pollution, one bottle at a time

Fighting plastic pollution, one bottle at a time

20-05-2019 | インサイト

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 Active Ownership
  • 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.

サステナビリティに関する最新の「インサイト」を読む
サステナビリティに関する最新の「インサイト」を読む
配信登録

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”

重要事項

当資料は情報提供を目的として、Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V.が作成した英文資料、もしくはその英文資料をロベコ・ジャパン株式会社が翻訳したものです。資料中の個別の金融商品の売買の勧誘や推奨等を目的とするものではありません。記載された情報は十分信頼できるものであると考えておりますが、その正確性、完全性を保証するものではありません。意見や見通しはあくまで作成日における弊社の判断に基づくものであり、今後予告なしに変更されることがあります。運用状況、市場動向、意見等は、過去の一時点あるいは過去の一定期間についてのものであり、過去の実績は将来の運用成果を保証または示唆するものではありません。また、記載された投資方針・戦略等は全ての投資家の皆様に適合するとは限りません。当資料は法律、税務、会計面での助言の提供を意図するものではありません。

ご契約に際しては、必要に応じ専門家にご相談の上、最終的なご判断はお客様ご自身でなさるようお願い致します。

運用を行う資産の評価額は、組入有価証券等の価格、金融市場の相場や金利等の変動、及び組入有価証券の発行体の財務状況による信用力等の影響を受けて変動します。また、外貨建資産に投資する場合は為替変動の影響も受けます。運用によって生じた損益は、全て投資家の皆様に帰属します。したがって投資元本や一定の運用成果が保証されているものではなく、投資元本を上回る損失を被ることがあります。弊社が行う金融商品取引業に係る手数料または報酬は、締結される契約の種類や契約資産額により異なるため、当資料において記載せず別途ご提示させて頂く場合があります。具体的な手数料または報酬の金額・計算方法につきましては弊社担当者へお問合せください。

当資料及び記載されている情報、商品に関する権利は弊社に帰属します。したがって、弊社の書面による同意なくしてその全部もしくは一部を複製またはその他の方法で配布することはご遠慮ください。

商号等: ロベコ・ジャパン株式会社  金融商品取引業者 関東財務局長(金商)第2780号

加入協会: 一般社団法人 日本投資顧問業協会