Supermarket Waitrose & Partners is funding university research that it hopes will contribute to efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of plastic use.
It is funding ten new Blue Charter Fellowships, which will be run and administered by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU). These will focus on three key areas: preventing plastics from getting into the sea; developing sustainable alternatives to plastic; and cleaning up the seas. The funding will also support 40 research impact grants, designed to ensure the outcomes of the fellowships lead to real-world impact, with research and information shared widely.
Tor Harris, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Health & Agriculture at Waitrose & Partners, said, “Tackling plastics is a global issue. That’s why Waitrose & Partners is supporting insight and innovation that will identify sustainable solutions that will be shared here in the UK and further afield for greater impact.”
Chris Skidmore, the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, added, “Plastic pollution in our ocean is a global crisis that we cannot afford to ignore. This investment by Waitrose is exactly what we want to see from the private sector, bolstering government investment in research that will tackle the grand challenges that affect us all.”
In 2018 Waitrose announced it would give half a million pounds from the 5p carrier bag levy to the Commonwealth Marine Plastics Research and Innovation Framework, and some of these levy funds have also supported beach and river cleans organised by the Marine Conservation Society. The retailer has also announced a £1 million fund to promote new alternatives under its Plan Plastic initiative.
Photo Credit: Waitrose & Partners