During the UN’s Climate Change Conference (COP26), which took place November 2022, Iceland committed to become the first UK supermarket to offset its entire remaining plastic footprint.
The industry-leading move means Iceland will now recover nature-bound waste plastic equal in weight to its residual plastic footprint and recycle it on an annual basis. The commitment has been made alongside Iceland’s longer term commitment to eliminating its own-label plastic packaging entirely.
Iceland is partnering with Seven Clean Seas – an ocean cleanup organisation – which is designing a bespoke, multi-project, global programme for Iceland to achieve plastic neutral status. The recovery and recycling programme will take place via community and municipal collections and environmental interception.
Managing Director Richard Walker said: “The UN Global Assessment of Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution is stark – plastic pollution is out of control and a major threat ecologically, to our climate and to human health. We are committed on our journey to become plastic-free across our own label range, but we need to do more than that and we need to do it immediately.
“We all know that, in the long term, the industry cannot recycle or offset its way out of the plastic crisis and, while we remain firmly fixed on plastic reduction, this is another important milestone in our journey to becoming plastic-free.”
As well as becoming Plastic Neutral, Iceland is calling for a standardised system and certification for nature-bound plastic recovery and offsetting. This will ensure the integrity of the approach and allows more businesses to react immediately to the UNEP assessment, which provides the strongest scientific argument to date for urgent collective action to protect and restore our oceans.