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Concurrent Session: | 5 OCTOBER
Plastic Pollution in Asia: Business models that integrate a human rights-based approach along the plastic value chain 

5 October 14:00 - 15:30 hrs (ICT)

Conference Room 4, UN Conference Centre Bangkok, Thailand


The consequences of the plastics crisis are particularly dire for the Asia-Pacific region, where up to 12 million metric tons of plastic waste leak into oceans and rivers every year. Plastic pollution is not only a threat to our environment, but also a threat to people, as plastics impact human rights along its life cycle (extraction, production, transportation, use and post-consumer plastic waste. 


Human rights are a critical, yet often overlooked, element of efforts to address plastic pollution and related issues. Addressing plastic pollution requires a multi-faceted approach involving various stakeholders, including businesses. A recent UNEP report recommends that key market shifts focused on ‘reuse, recycling and diversifying alternatives’ along with policy changes can potentially reduce plastic pollution by 80% by 2040 using existing technologies. 


The private sector, including in emerging and developing economies in Asia, can drive meaningful impacts in addressing plastic pollution. The use of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) principle – which incentivizes producers to account for environmental considerations when designing their products - has been proven to be a powerful means. 


As businesses transition and adopt more circular practices, they can help institutionalize a human rights-based approach (HRBA) in the plastics value chain, to maximize results and ensure sustainability. A rights-based approach could be defined as the process of designing, promoting and implementing actions to transition to sustainable consumption and productions of plastics in a manner that is fair and inclusive of everyone concerned, including waste pickers and other workers in the plastic value chain, creating decent livelihoods and opportunities and leaving no one behind. 


With the objective to increase awareness and understanding, the session will bring together stakeholders from the private sector, academics, development partners and civil society to discuss challenges and solutions for a rights-based approach to addressing plastic pollution in Asia, taking stock from best practices and lessons learned from experts from the region.


Panel discussion among business leaders, experts, policy advocates and the audience. 



  • Increased understanding of the human-rights approach to reduce plastic pollution in Asia.

  • Constructive dialogue between business, government and civil society on what measures, by governments and the private sector, could enhance a rights-based approach along the plastics life cycle. 

Day1 programme
Plastic Polluted Ocean

Moderator and Panelists 

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