A Global Commitment to Plastic Reduction

Dear Negotiators

We, the undersigned, are NGOs, businesses and other representatives of global civil society. We are writing as advocates for many people and causes, united by a common concern.

The Global Plastics Treaty negotiations are a momentous opportunity for meaningful and lasting solutions to the plastics problem. Plastics pollution is fuelling the climate, ecological, and human health crises. By emulating the Montreal Agreement’s success emulating the Montreal Agreement’s success with ozone-depleting chemicals, we can act before it’s too late.

We ask that you begin global action for control measures on plastic production. The approach we take must bring us to sustainable levels of production and consumption. These must be concordant with planetary boundaries planetary boundaries , while protecting environmental and human health, as well as biodiversity and human rights. 

The approach means setting a global target, implemented through internationally agreed national targets and reductions. There will need to be a strong definition of primary plastic polymers, an ambitious baseline, an effective licensing scheme, and mandatory national reporting . A dedicated independent body established by the treaty should oversee reduction, and be empowered to implement compulsory monitoring and reporting obligations .

The task is ambitious but it can be done. Governance around production should be modeled on the success of the Montreal Protocol, which shows how robust international leadership and global action can solve imminent global environmental emergencies. We urge governments to follow the mandate of Resolution 5/14 in creating a comprehensive approach that addresses the lifecycle of plastics .

If there is a failure to agree on a worldwide cap, fossil fuel expansion and its associated GHG emissions, and the production and use of toxic chemicals, will continue through the plastics industry continue through the plastics industry . While COP28 reflected the international will to transition away from oil and gas, the ambit was limited to “energy systems”. The plastics industry is ever-expanding with projections for its growth showing production is set to nearly triple nearly triple between 2019 and 2050. With an estimated 99% of plastics an estimated 99% of plastics coming from fossil fuels, this is a primary market in which oil and gas giants are now planning continued expansion. Consequently, plastics GHG emissions are predicted to consume upwards of 13% of our carbon budget upwards of 13% of our carbon budget by 2050, posing a significant challenge in keeping the global temperature rise below 1.5°C. 

Our planet is suffering from a chemical, waste and human health emergency that will take centuries to resolve. We are continuing to learn about the negative impact on ecosystems of ubiquitous environmental plastic, and of micro- and nanoplastics that have invaded our air, waters, soils, and bodies. The environmental build up of toxic chemicals associated with plastics is having impacts, including on human health, which no scientific model can accurately predict. Plastics pollute at every stage of their lifecycle, which is why control measures must start from the moment of production .

Present production levels cannot therefore be reconciled with ensuring the safe and prosperous futures of humans and biodiverse ecosystems on our planet. It is now apparent that recycling, so-called “advanced” recycling, waste-to-energy schemes, and incineration, are not solutions to plastics pollution not solutions to plastics pollution . Negotiators must take responsibility for the universal human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment

We ask that you deliver a treaty that ensures legally binding control measures to achieve sustainable levels of production and consumption of virgin plastics. It will be impossible to address emissions and plastic pollution without this upstream measure. It will pave the way towards a thriving planet for our society and the eco-systems that support it, as a prerequisite to a just transition for those in fossil fuel jobs; an equitable, safe industry for waste pickers; and the global cleanup effort required for legacy plastic pollution.


United Nations Association Climate and Oceans
Everyday Plastic
Plastic Soup Foundation
Whale and Dolphin Conservation
Women Engage for a Common Future - WECF
Zero Waste France
Vivir sin plástico
Peter Tatchell Foundation
GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives)
Marine Conservation Society
River Action
Fenceline Watch
Friends of the Earth Cyprus
Objectif Zero Plastique
Ethical Consumer
Ethikis ad civis - Label LONGTIME®
Chile Sin Ecocidio
Surfrider Spain