Europe acts to tackle single-use plastics

Neil Brown

Europe acts to tackle single-use plastics

Europe is beginning to act on plastic waste as politicians push ahead on proposals to tackle 10 of the most common single-use products littering beaches, as well as lost and abandoned fishing nets.

Plastic pollution is quickly moving up the global agenda and forms a key part of our Increasing waste treatment and recycling theme in the Liontrust Sustainable Future funds.

Data from the European Commission reveals that 10 key products, including cotton buds, straws, food containers and wrappers, account for 43 per cent of litter on the Continent’s beaches, with fishing gear making up a further 27 per cent.

The proposals target different measures for different products depending on their sustainability. Single-use plastics will be banned where alternatives are readily available and affordable, while for products without straightforward alternatives, the focus is on reducing consumption, design and labelling requirements, and waste management/clean-up obligations for producers.

From an investment perspective, we believe a single set of rules for the EU market will help companies working to reduce plastic pollution to develop economies of scale and be more competitive in the global marketplace for sustainable products. We welcome this drive for European companies to develop a clear technological lead over global competitors.

Key holdings exposed to this theme across our funds include Aquafil (which uses fishing nets to create sustainable nylon), Corbion (a leading player in bioplastics) and Smurfit (which continues to innovate in paper packaging).

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Key Risks

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018, 9:58 AM