Over 3 billion people depend directly on seas for their livelihoods, but as we know the ocean provides us all with so much more – from the air we breathe to the weather we complain about, to the beaches we enjoy to the fish we eat.
Over the last few decades, our oceans have been heavily impacted by a number of factors such as pollution and global warming. This has resulted in our marine environment suffering as a consequence and what is evident is that there is no quick fix or one solution for all.
That’s why this week, leaders from more than 100 nations gathered in Malta at the Our Ocean Conference to turn this tide. With the sole objective to collaborate together to make new commitments and come up with innovative ideas to tackle the issues that affect our seas.
From the impassioned opening speech by the Prince of Wales to the closing remarks to the Youth Leadership Summit by Paul Thompson, special envoy to the U.N. on Oceans, it was a remarkable experience. The scale of the challenge was made clear, but we also heard remarkable stories and commitments from countries, NGOs and businesses to make positive and far reaching commitment to reverse the decline and invest in the future of our oceans.
As part of Plan A 2025, our environmental and ethical plan, we are committed to ensuring all our plastic packaging will be 100% recyclable and widely recycled by 2022 as we focus on ensuring that the world we live remains intact for generations to come.
We are introducing products with reclaimed social plastics as we look to ensure we are making strides in the circular economy and making every possible effort to be a low waste business. Moreover, we are assessing whether all of our plastic packaging can be made from one polymer group by 2025 to send a clear message to our customers about the source of our plastic and encourage recycling.
Our customers trust us to be doing the right thing. Packaging plays an important role in protecting food and reducing food waste, but we need to find the best ways for customers to reuse and recycle it. That’s why over the last decade, we’ve come a long way in reducing our packaging and making it as sustainable as possible. But we know there is still much more to do which is why we’ve set these ambitious new commitments.
We can’t do this alone, so hearing inspirational talks from thought leaders like Sylvia Earle, lifelong campaigner for the health of the ocean, His Excellency Heraldo Munoz of Chile and His Excellency Henry Puna, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands demonstrated that with a strong will and vision, how much can be achieved.
As the Prince of Wales said: “We need to act now and not later. We can’t “test the world to destruction” and then decide what to do. There is so much evidence now that we are without excuse and should act now.”? This sense of urgency and passion shone through from the young people I met who are committed to making sure our oceans remain intact for future generations.
As Sylvia Earle reminded the audience, we are all connected by the ocean, no matter where we live and this sense of collective obligation to protect a valued resource has motivated and encouraged me to achieve the goals we have set out in Plan A 2025.