First standardized guidelines to measure plastic pollution across corporate value chains published by the Plastic Leak Project

First standardized guidelines to measure plastic pollution across corporate value chains published by the Plastic Leak Project

March 3, 2020
Press Release: Quantis

Sustainability consulting group Quantis and ecodesign center, EA, together with 35 member organizations and stakeholders, have announced the release of the Plastic Leak Project (PLP) Guidelines, the first standardized methodology to map, measure and forecast plastic leakage across corporate value chains

Plastic leakage is the potential amount of macro- and microplastics that are not kept in a circular loop or properly managed at their end-of-life, and thus leak into the environment. The PLP guidelines allow companies to move from commitment to science-based plastic strategies and meaningful actions on addressing plastic pollution.

Following a year-long collaboration within the scope of the multi-stakeholder Plastic Leak Project and rigorous testing of the methodology through two in-depth pilot projects, the guidelines and proof-of-concept case studies are now publicly available. (Click here)

“The Plastic Leak Project has made important advancements toward a credible accounting system for plastic leakage at product level,” affirmed WWF-USA’s Alix Grabowski, manager, Plastics and Packaging — a PLP member. “This process has brought together many key organizations and provided a robust way forward. It’s essential that all stakeholders commit to improving data collection and transparency regarding plastic value chains, waste management and pollution, and we see these guidelines as one piece of the puzzle as we work toward our broader ‘No Plastic in Nature’ vision.”

Developed for companies, the PLP guidelines provide businesses at all stages of the value chain with a robust, standardized method for calculating and reporting estimates of plastic and microplastic leakage at both the corporate and product level. Based on a leading-edge life-cycle assessment approach, the guidelines lay out the sources and pathways of plastic leakage across the globe. With a plastic leakage assessment, companies can locate hot-spots, understand how much leakage is occurring and identify the factors contributing to plastic pollution across their value chains. The results can be used by corporate decision-makers, sustainability managers, product and packaging designers, and R&D and marketing teams to develop plastics strategies, define priorities and targeted actions, improve product ecodesign efforts, identify value chain innovations, track progress and communicate credibly about the environmental performance of products and the business as a whole. All of which can ultimately mitigate business risks and strengthen brand reputation.

“Plastic pollution is a hot-button issue for businesses across sectors,” stated Quantis senior sustainability consultant and Plastic Leak Project lead, Laura Peano, “so companies have made bold commitments to address their plastic leakage. To ensure their efforts are focused on areas of greatest impact, they need data-driven solutions. That’s what the PLP guidelines provide: clear metrics and guidance to map, measure and forecast plastic leakage in their own industry and supply chains.”

The Plastic Leak Project was launched in 2019 by Quantis and EA to develop smart metrics for businesses to use to build meaningful corporate strategies to tackle plastic pollution. It brings together stakeholders from across the plastics value chain, representing a diversity of expertise and industries.

Until now, businesses have lacked clear and reliable data and methods to translate their bold commitments into actions with measurable and tangible impact. As a result, many of the policies and efforts to-date have been based on best guesses rather than science. While critical for reducing plastic waste, these measures don’t get to the root causes of plastic pollution.

“Through the Plastic Leak Project, we’ve taken the latest science and built consensus among key sectors on a shared method for calculating plastic leakage,” concluded Julien Boucher, director of ecodesign center EA. “This actionable metric is a major step forward – it is the tool companies need to design better products and data-driven strategies to stop plastic pollution along their value chains.”

Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2020 will take place at Cologne Messe, Germany, on Tuesday 16 June and Wednesday 17 June. To register for this highly focused, solutions-driven event, please click here. For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please email

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