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WPP pledges plastics purge with 2020 ban across all offices


By John Glenday, Reporter

June 17, 2019 | 3 min read

WPP has thrown its weight behind a global movement to eliminate unnecessary non-biodegradable waste with a commitment to remove all single-use plastics from its 3,000 offices by 2020.


Sea change at WPP prompts pledge to phase out single-use plastics by 2020

The blanket ban will affect all bottles, straws, cutlery and cups as well as wire products, while simultaneously making it easier for people to recycle their own household plastic in the office.

As a signatory to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, the advertising giant – founded as Wire and Plastic Products plc in 1971 – has pledged to do not only all it can but also to encourage its own clients and partners to follow suit – with Facebook among the first to collaborate.

Mark Read, chief executive of WPP, said: “Our industry has tremendous collective power to bring about change for the better, but our efforts have to begin at home. Taking the plastic out of wire & plastic products by phasing out single-use plastics in our offices is just the first step. People expect companies to act responsibly and help them live more sustainably, and our clients look to us to help them deliver brands with purpose. We look forward to working with partners across the industry and using our creativity, insight and scale to make a difference.”

Sian Sutherland, co-founder of the global movement A Plastic Planet, added: “Plastic is a miracle material born from man’s creativity. But our misuse of plastic has now created an environmental disaster that our children will inherit if we don’t turn off the plastic tap fast. To have the full creative force of WPP focused on driving change at many levels will accelerate the pace globally. Bad design got us into this mess and good design will get us out of it.”

The initiative follows an internal WPP summit held in May at which it was decided to host a series of ‘Unpack the Problem’ creative hackathons over the summer in an attempt to find solutions to broader issues.

Businesses including Unilever, The Guardian and National Geographic have all previously joined the plastic fight.

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