6th GEF Assembly: Marine Pollution Round Table

Da Nang, Vietnam - SYSTEMIQ’s Ocean Plastic team led a well-attended Marine Pollution round table at the Sixth GEF Assembly in Da Nang Vietnam.  

Describing marine plastic as the Tesla moment for the circular economy, the session focused on whether ocean plastic mattered, emerging solutions and how to shift the needle to build global momentum. Attendants included Unilever CEO Paul Polman, GEF CEO Naoko Ishii, Economist reporter Jan Piotrowski, Regional World Bank Vice President Victoria Kwakwa, government leaders from Indonesia, Norway and Vietnam and many others.  

Paul Polman noted that consumer pressure is mounting faster on plastics than any issue he's experienced, and the uncomfortable stretch sustainability targets they set last year are no longer sufficient, less than a year later. 

The round table’s presentations and discussion raised appreciation among participants regarding: 

  • How quickly momentum is building around ocean plastics among consumers 
  • The importance of a holistic, lifecycle approach to addressing marine plastics 
  • Initiatives underway and the importance of partnerships 
  • Interest and commitment of the GEF to address marine plastics 


The session also included an interactive display of circular business ventures from material redesign to multiple re-use and replacement models. Examples included: 


Material & Design Engineering

Full cycle Bioplastic - Hard to monetize organic waste is processed using non-GMO microorganisms to produce a unique home compostable and ocean friendly biodegradable plastic resin (PHA) that is ideal for flexible packaging applications. http://fullcyclebioplastics.com/ 

Plastic energy - With two proven industrial plants in operation, transforms unrecyclable plastic waste into TACOIL which can then be turned back into plastic or into transportation fuel, thereby giving value to contaminated plastic waste and providing a circular alternative to incineration, landfill or littering into the environment. http://www.plasticenergy.net/ 

Bio-lutions – uses innovative production processes to make price competitive, sustainable packaging and disposable tableware from natural agriculture excess. http://bio-lutions.com 


Consumer Use

The Bike lady - Customers buy a refillable bottle of eco-friendly soap, washing powder, shampoo or conditioner and are rewarded points to buy additional refills or kitchen goods, eliminating the need for single use packaging. Collection of empty bottles, refill and delivery is done by a lady on a bike weekly. https://www.facebook.com/HepiCircleIndonesia/ 

CupClub - Reuse business model in which customers are served their favourite beverages in sturdy, drip-free cups designed to hold both hot and cold drinks. Once finished, cups are collected, washed and delivered back to businesses for reuse over 130 times. https://cupclub.com/ 

RePack - Reuse business model in which products are shipped in reusable, durable packaging made to last at least 20 cycles. Customers return packaging by dropping it into a post box, free of charge and are then rewarded with incentives for doing the right thing. https://www.originalrepack.com/ 


Recovery & Recycling

Uzer Eugène - Scan product barcodes with a mobile phone to learn whether a product can be recycled, it's ingredients, allergens, additives, etc., for more responsible consumption and receive reward points making home recycling fun, rewarding and routine. https://www.uzer.eu/ 

UBQ Materials – Non-recyclable mixed waste (food scraps, dirty plastics, diapers, etc.) are dried and milled into a powder that is then broken down and reconstituted into a plastic-like composite material that can be used as an additive to conventional plastics or moulded into plastic products (bricks, planters, construction material). https://ubqmaterials.com/ 



How do we redefine growth in the 21st century? Learn more with Martin Stuchtey, Founder and Managing Partner of Systemiq. About #GEFLive: The interactive media hub GEF Live is at the Sixth GEF Assembly in Da Nang, Viet Nam from June 26-28, 2018.