Reducing single-use plastics: a strong start but more to do

In 2018 we pledged to remove all the single-use plastics we purchase in our global offices where feasible by 2020. We've published a report that provides an update on the progress we've made.

Throughout 2019 we took a methodical approach, working our way through our most used items:

  • We removed vending machines from our offices, and the disposable cups they supplied
  • We removed plastic water bottles from our meeting rooms
  • Our on-site restaurants removed expanded polystyrene and plastic cutlery.

Following these activities, we carried out an audit to understand and identify our next steps. While we've achieved a lot, there is definitely more to do.

We are going to carry on reducing single-use plastics and are always looking at ways to do this. And we've been asking our people for their help too, as often the single-use plastics are being brought into the office.

Sandy MacDonald, Head of Corporate Sustainability, said:

As we were going through this process, it brought to light the scale of the issue – single-use plastics are everywhere and when we take away one another often appears in its place.

We know we're not going to solve the problem completely, or get it right 100% of the time, but by focusing on the biggest sources of waste we can make a real difference.