Plastic pollution of the oceans: Could or should corporations be a part of the solution? Is CSR more than greenwashing?
PhD student: Mrs L. Cortat
Promotors: Prof M.G. Faure, L. Veuchelen
Duration: 1/6/2017 - 31/3/2020
The problem of the plastic pollution of the oceans is becoming more and more evident, but although many studies are being conducted since 1972, there is still a lot to learn about the plastic pollution sources, destinations and consequences to nature and human health. Estimates show that yearly at least 8 million tons of plastics leak into the ocean and, if no action is taken, until 2050 there would be more plastic than fish in the ocean. In such context, the PhD research aims at analyzing which is the best possible Smart Mix of public and private frameworks to incentivize movement towards a more sustainable behavior and a circular economy, avoiding further plastic pollution of oceans. In order to do so, the research will describe the stages of the plastic pathway and will relate them to the potential technical solutions. Afterwards, the discussion will emphasize which are the existing international regulations and private pathways to deal with the plastic pollution. A description of the state-of-the-art will allow a comparison between the existing problems and targets of the available instruments, giving a first design whether the current efforts are compatible with the harms and threats of the plastic soup. Following this, a Law and Economics analysis of the decision-making process of companies regarding environmental issues will enable to foresee the way ahead. All that, brought together under the analysis from the principles for an appropriate policy-making, is intended to achieving a way on how to construct the ideal Smart Mix.