Ocean Plastics Charter

Official title: Ocean Plastics Charter

Subject category:
Marine/Oceans
Type of agreement / instrument:
Multilateral
Form:
Voluntary international framework
Status:
  • Signed by Canada on June 9, 2018 as an outcome of the G7 summit in Charlevoix.
  • Ongoing.
Lead & partner departments:
Lead:
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Partners:
Department of Fisheries and Oceans
For further information:
Web links:
Contacts:
ECCC Inquiry Centre
Compendium edition:
July 2022
Reference #:
D10/EN

Plain language summary

Plastic waste in the oceans is a global problem that requires global solutions. By adopting the Ocean Plastics Charter, Canada is committing to reduce its plastic waste. Canada launched the Charter at the June 2018 Leaders Summit in Charlevoix during its G7 presidency. Canada continues this leadership role by encouraging countries and companies to adopt the Charter and reduce their plastic waste.

Since its launch, almost 30 governments and over 70 businesses and organizations have adopted this Charter. Partners are listed on the Ocean Plastics Charter website.

Objective

The Ocean Plastics Charter aims to bring together leading countries, sub-national governments, businesses, and civil society organizations to commit to a more resource efficient and sustainable approach to keep plastics in the economy, and out of the environment.

Key elements

By adopting the Charter, partners commit to take action, notably through policy measures on:

  • sustainable design, production and after-use markets;
  • collection and management systems and infrastructures;
  • sustainable lifestyles and education;
  • research, innovation and new technologies; and
  • coastal and shoreline.

Expected results

The ultimate objective of the Charter is to ensure that plastics are designed for repair, reuse, recycling, and are recovered at end-of-life to prevent waste and pollution.

By working with industry and governments, partners notably aim to increase recycled content by at least 50% in plastic products; to recycle and reuse at least 55% of plastic packaging; and to move towards 100% reusable, recyclable, or recoverable plastics, by 2030. By 2040, parties aim to recover 100% of all plastics.

Partners are invited to report on their progress in implementing the Charter through their own reporting processes and mechanisms.

Canada’s involvement

The Ocean Plastics Charter is important for Canada because oceans play a critical role in regulating the global climate system and because their health, including the communities that depend on them, is at risk due to stressors such as climate change and marine plastic pollution.

In 2018, Canada committed CAD$100 million to achieve the objectives of the Charter, including:

  • $65 million for plastic waste management and infrastructure in developing countries through the World Bank’s PROBLUE Fund;
  • $20 million to support the G7 Innovation Challenge to Address Marine Plastic Litter, which supports new solutions and technologies worldwide that will address plastic waste at all stages of the lifecycle in developing countries;
  • $6 million for innovative private-public partnerships through the World Economic Forum’s Global Plastics Action Partnership to support national action plans in developing countries on marine litter and public waste; and
  • $9 million to support the development of inclusive and sustainable waste management systems in developing countries through the Incubator Network.

Internationally, Canada is also actively engaged in the development of an international agreement to address plastic pollution. At the resumed Fifth Meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) in March 2022, countries came together and agreed to launch an intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) with the ambitious mandate to develop an international legally binding agreement on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, based on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full lifecycle of plastics, by 2024. Canada is proud to have worked tirelessly in advance of, and during UNEA-5.2 to help deliver this historic outcome, both as one of the co-facilitators guiding the negotiations, and in our national capacity. Canada’s experience and reputation as a trusted voice in multilateral fora means that we will continue to seek opportunities to demonstrate leadership and play a key role as the negotiations towards an agreement continue.

Domestically, the Government of Canada has adopted a comprehensive approach to meet its target of zero plastic waste by 2030. Important aspects of our agenda include investing in research through Canada’s Plastics Science Agenda, in innovation through the Canadian Plastics Innovation Challenges, and in community action through the Zero Plastic Waste Initiative. We are working in partnership with organizations and industries to develop solutions to reduce waste in the first place, and increase the recovery of waste plastics in Canada. In collaboration with the provincial and territorial governments, we are also working to ensure producers are responsible for the waste their products generate. Our aim is to work with all sectors of the economy, including packaging, textiles, electronics, construction materials, automotive and others, to keep plastics in the economy and out of the environment. You can follow our actions at: www.Canada.ca/Zero-Plastic-Waste.

On June 20, 2022, the Government announced the Single-use Plastics Prohibition Regulations. These Regulations will prohibit the manufacture, import, and sale of six categories of single-use plastics. The Regulations will begin to come into force in December 2022.

Results / progress

Activities

Since its launch in June 2018, the Charter has been at the centre of several events.

At the G7 Environment Ministerial Meeting in September 2018, as a first step in meeting its Charter commitments, Canada committed to reduce plastic waste from federal government operations by at least 75% by 2030.

In November 2018, during the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference, Canada and Kenya co-hosted a side event on Building the Global Momentum on Marine/Aquatic Plastics Litter to promote the Charter.

In March 2019, during the fourth meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly, the two countries also co-organized a side event on Strengthening the Global Momentum to Tackle Plastic Pollution.

Results

First adopted by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the European Union after the G7 Charlevoix Summit in 2018, the Charter now has almost 30 governments and over 70 company and organization endorsees.

Charter endorsees are encouraged to implement the objectives and commitments in the Charter within their respective jurisdictions and area of influence.

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