WPP to drop all single-use plastics by 2020

All of its 3,000 locations will be single-use-plastic-free by the end of the year.

WPP has pledged to phase out single-use plastics in its 3,000-plus agency offices and campuses around the world by the end of the year.

The company, which has agencies including Wunderman Thompson, Grey, VMLY&R and Group M, announced this morning that it will no longer buy or provide items such as plastic bottles, straws, cutlery and cups. It has also promised to make it easier for staff to recycle their own plastic at work.

WPP's PR firms include BCW, Hill+Knowlton Strategies and the PR arm of Ogilvy. 

WPP has signed on to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, which is led by U.N. Environment and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, Nestlé, PepsiCo, SC Johnson, Coca-Cola and Unilever are also signatories to the initiative.

"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," said WPP CEO Mark Read. "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."

WPP will host creative hackathons, which it is calling Unpack the Problem, over the summer to come up with "actionable ideas that help tackle plastic pollution."

"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," said Sian Sutherland, cofounder of the global movement A Plastic Planet. "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."

This story first appeared on campaignlive.co.uk. 

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