Outcomes and Impact of UNEP INC‑3 in Nairobi

The Unit­ed Nations Envi­ron­ment Pro­gramme (UNEP) INC‑3 con­fer­ence in Nairo­bi, held from 13 to 19 Novem­ber, marked a sig­nif­i­cant gath­er­ing for inter­na­tion­al envi­ron­men­tal pol­i­cy-mak­ing. EUMEPS, as part of the Glob­al EPS Sus­tain­abil­i­ty Alliance (GESA), active­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed, con­tribut­ing to  inter­na­tion­al dis­cus­sions. This engage­ment was not only a demon­stra­tion of com­mit­ment to EPS sus­tain­abil­i­ty but also an oppor­tu­ni­ty to show­case the ben­e­fits of EPS to glob­al reg­u­la­tors and rebuff recur­rent claims that EPS is a major source of plas­tics pollution.


The Vital Role of the GESA Del­e­ga­tion: Pre­sent­ing the chances EPS offers for a glob­al sus­tain­able policy

The EUMEPS del­e­ga­tion, under GESA’s umbrel­la, joined forces with EPS-IA, EWASA, EPS Aus­tralia, AMEPS, and EPS­branchen, along with indi­vid­ual mem­bers from Sty­ropek and Atlas Roof­ing. The team, includ­ing Lea Sal­i­hovic-Sar­ic, Chresten Hei­de-Ander­son, and Jür­gen Lang, was instru­men­tal in show­cas­ing EPS recy­cling at scale and in prac­tice, rein­forc­ing the material’s sus­tain­able advan­tages over alternatives.

The Stakes: Defend­ing Expand­ed Polystyrene’s Image

There was a tan­gi­ble risk at the con­fer­ence that poly­styrene as a whole could be qual­i­fied as a “prob­lem­at­ic and unnec­es­sary” poly­mer. Address­ing this, the del­e­ga­tion sought to cor­rect mis­con­cep­tions and chal­lenge ide­o­log­i­cal­ly dri­ven nar­ra­tives by high­light­ing EPS’s low­er car­bon foot­print and its crit­i­cal role in trans­port­ing vital goods, from elec­tron­ics to life-sav­ing vac­cines and organs.

The Achieve­ments: Build­ing Foun­da­tions and Chal­leng­ing Misconceptions

The con­fer­ence proved fruit­ful as the del­e­ga­tion estab­lished numer­ous con­tacts with key UN Mem­ber States, acad­e­mia, and NGOs. These con­nec­tions are piv­otal for EUMEPS’ ongo­ing advo­ca­cy, set­ting the stage for con­tin­ued dia­logue at the upcom­ing INC‑4 in Ottawa.

Gain­ing Insights and Com­mu­ni­cat­ing Positions

Beyond for­mal ses­sions, the del­e­ga­tion gained access to insid­er knowl­edge, wit­ness­ing the intri­cate nego­ti­a­tions first-hand. Through bilat­er­al meet­ings and side events, EUMEPS effec­tive­ly com­mu­ni­cat­ed the industry’s stance, advo­cat­ing for the recog­ni­tion of EPS’s sus­tain­able pro­file and cir­cu­lar potential.

Look­ing For­ward: Strate­gic Fol­low-Up and Next Steps

In the lead-up to INC‑4, GESA and EUMEPS will utilise the inter­ces­sion­al peri­od to pro­vide stake­hold­ers with com­pre­hen­sive infor­ma­tion and stud­ies, strength­en­ing the case for EPS. As nego­ti­a­tions evolve, GESA will refine its posi­tion to reflect changes in the draft text and scope of the treaty, ensur­ing that EPS’s voice is heard and its mer­its duly recognised.

A Stead­fast Jour­ney Towards Sustainability

The UNEP INC‑3 con­fer­ence has been a piv­otal junc­ture for the EPS indus­try, with EUMEPS play­ing a cen­tral role in shap­ing the nar­ra­tive around plas­tics and sus­tain­abil­i­ty. As the jour­ney towards a more cir­cu­lar future con­tin­ues, EUMEPS remains ded­i­cat­ed to advo­cat­ing for the EPS indus­try, prov­ing its val­ue as a sus­tain­able mate­r­i­al, and con­tribut­ing to the glob­al tran­si­tion towards cli­mate neu­tral­i­ty. The ground­work laid in Nairo­bi will be instru­men­tal in forg­ing ahead with con­fi­dence and clar­i­ty at the next inter­na­tion­al gath­er­ing in Ottawa.

AuthorIngrid Morin