On 6th January 2023, the Islamic Reporting Initiative (IRI) co-signed a statement addressed to the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on plastic pollution. The statement, facilitated by UNEP’s Multifaith Action Group on Pollution, was signed by the Islamic Reporting Initiative and 13 other non-profit organizations with an observer status in UNEP, including the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences and Islamic Relief Worldwide.
The statement commends the historic resolution adopted by Member States at the UNEA 5.2 in February 2022 to ‘develop a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution’ and offers a number of specific recommendations for its effective realization across four categories: clearly outlined objectives, substantive provisions including core obligations, implementation measures, and means of implementation.
Particularly relevant to the work of the Islamic Reporting Initiative is the call for an instrument driven by values. Imam Sayed Razawi, member of the IRI’s Advisory Council, said: ‘The statement against plastic pollution demonstrates how care for the environment is a core value shared across all major faith groups. It is critical that the problem of plastic pollution is addressed at the highest level in government and business, and indeed through united efforts from faith communities’.
According to the 2022 Global Plastics Outlook published by the OECD, ‘the world is producing twice as much plastic waste as two decades ago – now more than 353 million tonnes – with the bulk of it ending up in landfill, incinerated or leaking into the environment, and only 9% successfully recycled. Most plastic pollution comes from inadequate collection and disposal of larger plastic debris known as macro plastics, but leakage of microplastics (synthetic polymers smaller than 5 mm in diameter) from things like industrial plastic pellets, synthetic textiles, road markings and tyre wear are also a serious concern’.
Environmental stewardship is a central theme in the IRI reporting standard. Significantly, the IRI held its first roundtable discussion at the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP22) in Marrakesh. The conference was hosted by the Morocco Minister of Environment and COP22 Special Envoy, H.E. Dr Hakima El Haité, herself a member of the IRI Advisory Council.
Founded on the notion that a quarter of the world’s countries and a fifth of the world’s population share a set of fundamental values that inherently support stewardship, honesty, trust and charity, the IRI itself is an organization intent on leveraging the interconnectedness of the Islamic world to support and encourage sustainability leadership globally.
Prof. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, University Professor of Islamic Studies, George Washington University, stated: “The noble Quran contains a message not only concerning human life, but also the world of nature and our responsibility towards it. […] May the efforts of the Islamic Reporting Initiative and other organizations with similar aims succeed by God’s grace and the efforts of dedicated Muslim men and women. Our future depends on this spiritual jihād carried out with God’s succour in this holy effort.”
The Islamic Reporting Initiative looks forward to continuing its work with UNEP’s ‘Faith for Earth’ initiative, and indeed with the INC, to address the important issue of plastic pollution.
For more information, please click here: https://www.unep.org/multi-faith-action-group-pollution
About the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
The UNEP is the global environmental authority that sets the environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. The UNEP’s mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. The Faith for Earth Initiative is a programme of UNEP aiming at engaging multiple faith actors on policy and scientific action.
About the Islamic Reporting Initiative (IRI)
The Islamic Reporting Initiative is an independent not-for-profit organization leading the creation of the world’s first reporting standard for sustainability and CSR/ESG – across all business sectors – based on Islamic values and principles. By making these topics culturally relevant, the IRI aspires to effectively accelerate the uptake of the above and systemically advance the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals through nearly a quarter of the world’s population with custodianship for vast reserves of natural resources.
Image credit: Naja Bertolt Jensen, Unsplash