The Plastic Leak Project

The Plastic Leak Project (PLP), a pre-competitive multi-stakeholder initiative co-founded by Quantis and ecodesign center EA in partnership with 35 public, private and scientific organizations, delivers the first science-based methodology to map, measure and forecast plastic leakage along their value chain. These insights provide sustainability managers and corporate decision-makers with a strong foundation to translate their commitments to tackle plastic pollution into effective strategies and actions that meaningfully address plastic leakage. 

Following a yearlong collaboration and rigorous testing of the methodology through pilot projects with Arla Foods and textile brand Sympatex Technologies, the full PLP Methodological Guidelines and accompanying Brief are now publicly available. 

The PLP Guidelines shift the plastics conversation from sounding the alarm to driving meaningful change with robust metrics.

As pressure from investors, consumers and governments rise, companies have made bold commitments to tackle plastic pollution in their value chains. Until now, businesses have lacked the tools and metrics to identify where plastic leakage is happening and which actions will be most meaningful. Thanks to the PLP Guidelines, companies can identify areas of greatest impact and develop targeted strategies that enable them to address these business risks, design better products, innovate supply chain solutions, track progress, communicate credibly on their efforts, and strengthen brand reputation. This assessment is the first step in developing a science-based plastics strategy.

Companies bolster business value with a plastic leakage assessment

The plastic leakage methodology empowers companies to:

+ Minimize risks and build business resilience across their value chain by making targeted and impactful decisions founded on science.

+ Strengthen brand reputation by demonstrating leadership in tackling plastic pollution.

+ Uncover opportunities for innovation that bring companies closer to their sustainability goals and strengthen competitive advantage.

+ Foster trust and generate buy-in with stakeholders through metrics-backed credible communications.

“Plastic pollution is a hot-button issue for businesses across sectors, so companies have made bold commitments to address their plastic leakage. To ensure their efforts are focused on areas of greatest impact, they need data-driven solutions. That’s what the PLP guidelines provide: clear metrics and guidance to map, measure and forecast plastic leakage in their own industry and supply chains.”

Laura Peano, Senior Sustainability Consultant and Plastic Leak Project Lead Quantis

“Through the Plastic Leak Project, we've taken the latest science and built consensus among key sectors on a shared method for calculating plastic leakage. This actionable metric is a major step forward — it is the tool companies need to design better products and data-driven strategies to stop plastic pollution along their value chains.”

Julien Boucher, Director of ecodesign center EA

“IUCN’s ambitious programme on marine plastics engages a wide range of stakeholders, including governments, industries and society. We are confident the PLP methodology will be a valuable contribution to this work by encouraging businesses to harness the latest science on plastic leakage to drive transformative change. Until now, the focus has been on sounding the alarm on the plastics crisis. The time has come for collective action and metrics-based decision-making to drastically reduce plastic pollution.”

Gerard Bos, Director of Global Business and Biodiversity Programme, IUCN International Union for Conservation of Nature

“The Plastic Leak Project has made important advancements towards a credible accounting system for plastic leakage at product level. This process has brought together many key organizations and provided a robust way forward. It’s essential that all stakeholders commit to improving data collection and transparency regarding plastic value chains, waste management, and pollution, and we see these guidelines as one piece of the puzzle as we work towards our broader No Plastic in Nature vision.”

Alix Grabowski, Manager, Plastics and Packaging WWF-US

Harnessing science to stop leakage at its source 

Using the PLP Guidelines, companies can see where leakage is occurring across global value chains, as well as quantify plastic loss and release rates. The PLP methodology is a valuable tool for sustainability managers, corporate decision-makers, R&D teams, product and packaging designers, marketing teams and supply chain managers, and is applicable across sectors ranging from agri-food and apparel to cosmetics, shipping and beyond, to assess plastic leakage linked to transport, textiles, plastic products and packaging, and plastic pellets.

A plastic leakage assessment provides businesses with insights that serve as a strong foundation to define effective strategies and actions for eliminating plastic pollution across their value chains. It is an essential first step on the journey of translating bold sustainability commitments into meaningful actions to address plastic impacts.

The PLP Stakeholders

Project stakeholders represent a diversity of expertise and industries across the plastic value chain, as well as scientific experts in microplastics, plastic waste, LCA and circularity, recognized academics exploring macro- and micro-plastics issues, leading international organizations for nature conversation, and the European Commission, linking this project with the on-going work on the impacts of plastics.

Quantis Team

Ready to assess your company’s plastic leakage? Laura is the one to talk to!

Laura Peano
Senior Sustainability Consultant
Quantis

Related resources