Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Trade groups representing the world’s biggest oil and chemical companies – including NZ Rugby’s prospective new sponsor for the All Blacks – INEOS, have been opposing a ground-breaking new proposal to regulate toxic and persistent chemicals in microplastics, according to documents obtained by Unearthed, Greenpeace UK’s investigations team.
“We know that microplastic is everywhere, from Arctic sea ice to tap water, and that it’s linked to the spread of harmful chemicals. Many of these substances have slipped through the net of global regulations so far, but this proposal at the UN Stockholm convention could change that and that’s why the industry is hell-bent on stopping it,” says Juressa Lee, Greenpeace Aotearoa plastics campaigner.
“Where we see a game-changer in protecting marine life from toxic pollution, INEOS and the oil and chemical lobby only sees a threat to profits. We should never accept oil and plastic polluter INEOS as a sponsor for New Zealand’s iconic All Blacks.”
“It’s appalling that in the thick of the climate and biodiversity crisis, our treasured national rugby teams could be branded with the logo of a company responsible for choking the oceans with plastic pollution and driving the climate crisis.”
Microplastic pollution has been found practically everywhere on the planet, from oceans, lakes and rivers to raindrops, air, wildlife and even on our dinner plates. Study after study has shown it can release harmful chemicals and attract other pollutants already present in seawater, ending up in the guts of marine life and further up the food chain.
Last year, the Swiss government put forward a proposal to list a widely-used plastic additive in the Stockholm Convention, the UN’s global treaty on persistent organic pollutants. It’s the first proposal to make a case for a chemical to be listed partly on the basis that it travels long distances via microplastics and plastic debris.
The new Greenpeace investigation reveals that powerful lobby groups representing corporations including INEOS, ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical, BASF, DuPont, BP and Shell, are opposing the proposal arguing that there is insufficient evidence to consider the additive a persistent organic pollutant. Emails and documents obtained under transparency laws from the US Environmental Protection Agency show the American Chemistry Council and the European Chemical Industry Council raising concerns about the precedent the proposal could set.
“The oil and plastic industry is fast running out of friends and association with celebrated sports teams like the All Blacks from a country like New Zealand is a greenwashing effort to gain the social license they need to keep polluting – we should never be sucked in to selling INEOS our good name.”