Government Partnerships

Common Seas partners with governments around the world to help them quickly and significantly reduce their plastic pollution.

We focus our support on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which steward 30% of the world’s ocean.

We are empowering the countries that need it most to radically reduce their ocean plastic pollution within a decade.

Common Seas uses a combination of tools and technical expertise to support countries to set baselines, design policy and take action on plastic reduction.

Much of this work is enabled by Plastic Drawdown, a unique tool we developed in consultation with 24 governments.

Plastic Drawdown’s approach was endorsed by the United Nations and its methodology was published in the Global Environmental Change Journal.

Step One

Mapping and modelling a country’s plastic pollution

How it works

We identify which plastics are creating the most pollution in a country, and create a map of where, how, and in what volume plastic items leak out of the value chain into rivers and seas.

We then model the trajectory of that plastic leakage from today to 2030.

Step Two

Matching a country’s plastic problem with the right solutions

Drawing on an in depth understanding of policy and technical guidelines, we identify which policy interventions will best tackle the problem plastics we’ve identified in the country we’re working with. We create a wedges-based output to show the potential drawdown of plastic to 2030.

Diagram 06

Step Three

Working with stakeholders to turn strategy into action

We create scenarios to help decision-makers visualise and co-create the most effective strategy for their country. We help them turn strategy into action by convening stakeholders, and identifying and implementing next steps - such as finding funding, partners and R&D opportunities.

"Plastic Drawdown was critical in building the case for phasing out single-use plastics across the Maldives. The model gave the Maldivian Government the confidence to set an ambitious target to phase out single-use plastics by 2023, as announced by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih at the UN General Assembly in 2019. Common Seas delivered not only solid evidence for what we could achieve, but also practical advice on how to achieve it.”

Ibrahim Hood
Spokesperson for the President

Robust policy is critical to tackling the plastic crisis. But today, 30% of the world’s most polluting countries lack essential policy targeting plastic pollution.

In March 2022, the United Nations started negotiating a new Global Treaty on Plastic Pollution. The stronger this treaty, the more effective our global response to plastic.

SIDS represent 20% of the UN’s voting membership and carry moral authority at negotiations.

As well as supporting SIDS to take strong, focused action on plastic reduction, Common Seas is working directly with SIDS to empower them with the knowledge and evidence to secure a meaningful Treaty.

  • Deliver national strategy, providing the evidence needed to commit to and meet ambitious plastic mitigation targets. See our work in the Maldives

  • Evaluate plastic mitigation policies, showing their relative strengths and weaknesses, and visualise their impact over time.

  • Focus and align investment, attracting the funders necessary to deliver circular economy solutions at scale. See our work in Indonesia

  • Co-create technical assistance projects with governments across the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance.

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