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The Science of Climate Change

Climate change is no longer a distant threat or just a possibility, it is now a reality for all of us. In this pathway, Kevin Trenberth, a renowned climatologist, delves into the science behind climate change. He first introduces the climate system, its main components and forces.

Tackling the Plastic Crisis

Plastic pollution is by far the biggest threat to our oceans and this remains an incredibly tough problem to solve. Plastic credits could potentially serve as one of the much needed solutions for this crisis.

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The Scale of the Net Zero Challenge

The price of meeting net zero is estimated to be between $100-150 trillion over the next 30 years. Regardless of this cost, we need to reach net zero before climate change does irreversible damage to the environment and the economy.

ESG, Sustainability and Impact Jargon Buster

ESG, sustainability, impact… they all just mean green, right? Not quite. Despite being used often interchangeably, there are distinct differences between these terms.

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Featured Pathways

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The Science of Climate Change

Climate change is no longer a distant threat or just a possibility, it is now a reality for all of us. In this pathway, Kevin Trenberth, a renowned climatologist, delves into the science behind climate change. He first introduces the climate system, its main components and forces.

Tackling the Plastic Crisis

Plastic pollution is by far the biggest threat to our oceans and this remains an incredibly tough problem to solve. Plastic credits could potentially serve as one of the much needed solutions for this crisis.

More pathways

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Plans & Membership

Our Platform

Expert led content

+1,000 expert presented, on-demand video modules

Learning analytics

Keep track of learning progress with our comprehensive data

Interactive learning

Engage with our video hotspots and knowledge check-ins

Testing & certification

Gain CPD / CPE credits and professional certification

Managed learning

Build, scale and manage your organisation’s learning

Integrations

Connect Sustainability Unlocked to your current platform

Featured Content

More featured content

The Scale of the Net Zero Challenge

The price of meeting net zero is estimated to be between $100-150 trillion over the next 30 years. Regardless of this cost, we need to reach net zero before climate change does irreversible damage to the environment and the economy.

ESG, Sustainability and Impact Jargon Buster

ESG, sustainability, impact… they all just mean green, right? Not quite. Despite being used often interchangeably, there are distinct differences between these terms.

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Introduction to Tackling the Plastics Crisis

Introduction to Tackling the Plastics Crisis

Vincent Kneefel

15 years: Ocean conservationist

20 companies are said to be responsible for 55% of global plastic waste produced. Even if all current commitments are followed, the world's plastic waste leakage will only be reduced by 7%. But don’t despair – join Vincent Kneefel as he explores some global and regional solutions to the plastic problem.

20 companies are said to be responsible for 55% of global plastic waste produced. Even if all current commitments are followed, the world's plastic waste leakage will only be reduced by 7%. But don’t despair – join Vincent Kneefel as he explores some global and regional solutions to the plastic problem.

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Introduction to Tackling the Plastics Crisis

9 mins 20 secs

Key learning objectives:

  • Outline global solutions to the plastic crisis

  • Understand the impact of a plastic circular economy

  • Define extended producer responsibility (EPR)

  • Define producer responsibility organisation (PRO)

Overview:

The global response to the plastic crisis starts with the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) annual summit in March 2022. 175 countries signed the most ambitious worldwide deal on plastic pollution, aiming to manage plastic across its entire life-cycle, with the primary goal of establishing circular economies that eliminate single-use plastics. Regionally, more governments are investigating regulatory solutions including extended producer responsibility, a policy strategy in which producers are assigned significant financial/physical responsibility for the management or disposal of post-consumer products. Companies meanwhile are exploring producer responsibility organisations, an organisation that assumes the responsibilities of an obligated party, regarding the collection and recycling of products.

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Summary

What is the global response to the plastic crisis?

175 countries signed the most ambitious worldwide deal on plastic pollution at the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) annual summit in March 2022. The agreement aims to manage plastic across its entire life-cycle – with the primary goal of establishing circular economies that eliminate single-use plastics. Countries would be required to implement new standards in industries that utilise plastic and build waste management systems. The resolution summit established an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) which aims to have completed a global legally binding draft agreement by the end of 2024. 

How could a plastic circular economy help the pollution crisis?

The circular economy has the power to significantly reduce how much plastic enters the oceans. 

Moving to a circular economy would: 
– Reduce the volume of plastics entering the ocean by over 80% by 2040

– Save governments $70bn in the process

– Create 700,000 jobs

What is extended producer responsibility (EPR)? 

According to the OECD, extended producer responsibility (EPR) is a policy strategy in which producers are assigned significant financial and/or physical responsibility for the management or disposal of post-consumer products. 

Theoretically, assigning this responsibility might generate incentives to decrease waste at source, encourage environmentally-friendly product design, and support public recycling and waste management goals.

EPR programs are enacted by governments and put a legal obligation on producers to adhere to laws concerning the lifecycle management of their products and packaging. 

What is a producer responsibility organisation (PRO)? 

This is an organisation that assumes the responsibilities of an obligated party, as outlined in government regulations regarding the collection and recycling of products. For example, companies manufacturing plastics might pay a PRO to engage in activities such as collecting plastic waste from a beach, sorting into what is recyclable and then recycling the plastics (on behalf of the company). 

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Vincent Kneefel

Vincent Kneefel

Vincent Kneefel is an underwater photographer, ocean conservationist and circular economy expert. He has worked for organizations such as WWF, United Nations and Accenture on strategic sustainability and ocean conservation initiatives. His photographs show some of the most iconic and endangered creatures of our ocean.

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