Global Treaty to End Plastic Pollution

Eunomia Research and Consulting > Our Clients > Global Treaty to End Plastic Pollution

Eunomia delivered three studies to inform negotiations for a new global treaty to tackle plastic pollution. For WWF, we conducted a deep dive into some core components of the treaty, exploring pollution risks, control measures, and reuse applications. In a separate study, we supported Reloop to draft a position paper that set out priority elements for the treaty.

Since March 2022, when 175 nations voted to adopt an international treaty on plastic pollution, the UN Environment Programme has been leading negotiations with the aim of finalising the treaty by the close of 2024.

The need is urgent: of the 462 million tons of plastic currently produced across the globe, 90% becomes waste that pollutes land and seas, damages human health, harms wildlife and ecosystems, and costs billions to manage. Global plastic pollution is on track to triple by 2040, despite various national and voluntary actions to slow it.[1]

This treaty will set out legally binding, globally equitable agreements to change how we produce, design, consume, and dispose of high-risk plastic. To make it robust and effective, it must be informed by careful evidence-gathering and analysis like the separate studies Eunomia conducted for WWF and Reloop.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

For WWF, Eunomia grouped the most problematic plastics according to their properties, uses, and pathways to the environment. We built a criteria framework for assessing each group’s pollution probability and impacts. We classified groups with the highest risk of pollution and prioritised them according to their potential for elimination or significant reduction in use. We then identified the best measures to prevent, reduce, and control their introduction into the environment.[2]

Our clear, evidence-based assessment is designed to inform appropriate regulatory approaches and control measures that work in combination with bans, phase-outs, obligations on production and consumption, and financial mechanisms. The prioritisation and assessment framework we developed is intended to support a start-then-strengthen approach, so it can be used in the future as new evidence for risks emerges.

Eunomia’s presentations and published reports are intended to support WWF’s efforts to inform ongoing discussions and national efforts to implement change. Our research also demonstrated that using a product-based approach to categorising high-risk plastics is both feasible and helpful.

In May 2023, at the invitation of WWF, Eunomia presented the findings at the Asia pre-INC2 virtual forum, hosted by the Coordinating Body on the Seas of Asia, Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia, and WWF. The forum considered the benefits of the plastic pollution treaty, including potential provisions on high-risk plastic product categories, circularity, and financing mechanisms. In March 2024, again at WWF’s invitation, we presented the results at informal technical workshops for regional negotiators in Africa and Latin American & the Caribbean (both pre INC-4).

WWF subsequently asked Eunomia to conduct another deep dive into the most promising applications for reuse and explore how these could be incorporated in the new treaty to end plastic pollution.[3]


Eunomia worked with Reloop to draft a position paper that set out three priority elements for creating an effective treaty[4]. These emphasise the importance of:

  1. Intelligent, binding targets for national governments to achieve real improvement within a clear time frame;
  2. A globally harmonised set of definitions and system of data governance to underpin the process of negotiating, implementing, and monitoring the treaty; and
  3. A reliable framework for mandatory extended producer responsibility that puts the polluter pays principle at the heart of control measures.

In all three studies, we deployed our technical expertise in plastic pollution and our detailed understanding of circular economy policy and regulation to support the development of this milestone treaty – one with potential to change a global trajectory and make the planet safer for us and our co-habiting species.

[1] WWF Global Treaty to End Plastic Pollution webpage:

[2] WWF 2023 Breaking Down High-Risk Plastic Products: Assessing pollution risk and elimination feasibility of plastic products – Towards a treaty to end plastic pollution. Available at:

[3] WWF 2024 Unpacking Reuse in the Plastic Pollution Treaty: A historic opportunity for scaling up reuse. Available at:

[4] Reloop 2023 Tree priorities for an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment. Position paper. Available at: