India-based social enterprise, Plastics For Change has become one of the first companies in the world to achieve the Ocean Bound Plastic (OBP) certification. Introduced in 2020 by Zero Plastics Oceans in collaboration with Control Union Certifications, the programme certifies companies that can guarantee that their products truly are, or originate from OBP and adhere to fair trade guidelines.
Around 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans every year - contributing up to 80% of all marine debris. Apart from entering human food-chains, ocean plastic also has a devastating impact on marine ecosystems, threatening the lives of many species that either ingest or are entangled in plastic waste. With such far-reaching impacts, the need to stem the flow of plastic into our oceans has become a priority with organizations like Plastics For Change whose efforts are focused on the coastal regions of India - thereby making it fundamental to their mission.
The organization was certified as an OBP Collection Organization by the programme after an intensive audit process. Verified during audits was the scope of traceability across the supply chain of products containing ocean-bound plastic as well as the origin of plastic sourced by enterprises. As a certified company, Plastics for Change 'further establishes its focus on preserving biodiversity as well as ensuring equity in trade and working conditions - also providing an assurance to stakeholders and building credibility for its sourcing operations'.
Having developed an ethical sourcing platform that connects informal waste collectors to global markets and international brands, Plastics For Change says it is on a mission to use plastic waste as a resource to create better livelihoods for marginalized waste collectors while contributing towards cleaner oceans. This certification reiterates the commitment of the organization, which was also the first plastic recycler to be verified by the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO).
The organization hopes that the certification will aid it in enabling an increasing number of brands to become sustainable in its sourcing and transition from virgin plastic to ocean-bound, recycled plastic.