Daily Management Review

Multinationals Like Amazon And H&M Are Lobbying To Relax An Indian State's Plastic Ban


Multinationals Like Amazon And H&M Are Lobbying To Relax An Indian State's Plastic Ban
A provincial government in India imposed a ban on single use plastic last week and now multinational companies such as Amazon Inc and H&M are trying opt convince the authorities to soften the ban.
For companies that depend on plastic for packaging such as retailers, beverage makers and sellers of bottled water are saying het the ban which has been imposed in the Indian state of Maharashtra – which has the financial capital of India - Mumbai, could sharply raise their costs.
According to the United Nations, about half of all plastic waste globally is accounted for by plastic packaging and most of that plastic gets discarded within a few minutes of its first use.
Just day before the enforcement of the statewide ban, the government officials were met by company representatives of Amazon, H&M, Pepsi, Coca-Cola and others as well as people form the plastic industry and lobby groups. they called on the government for phase wise implementation of the ban and for relaxation of some norms, said media reports.
“Our demand to the government is: give the industry seven years to come up with alternatives,” said Neemit Punamiya, general secretary of the Plastic Bags Manufacturers Association of India, who attended the meeting. “It cannot happen overnight - we’ve got investments, we’ve got loans to pay and people to manage.”
Such a ban “will not be without its own share of adverse environmental impacts which are largely driven by issues associated with the use of alternatives”, said the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry which have online retailers such as Amazon India and Flipkart as its members, in a letter addressed to the state government on June 7.
It had requested the state government to relax some of the regulations, said the Internet and Mobile Association of India that also has Amazon and Flipkart as its members.
Sources also reportedly said that since they have a policy of buyback of empty bottles at a fixed price, therefore they should be exempted from the ban, said beverage companies like Pepsi and Coca-Cola.
There were no comments available from Amazon, Flipkart, Pepsi and Coca-Cola.
The neighborhood grocery stores would be the ones for whom the government plans to relax the rules which would allow them to pack products such as rice and pulses in plastic, Maharashtra’s environment minister said on Wednesday. However, the stores would be required to ensure that the customers return the plastic to them for recycling.
According to the local plastics industry, there can be yearly losses of up to 150 billion rupees ($2.20 billion) and cost nearly 300,000 jobs because of the ban that has been imposed on p[lastic bags, food containers, spoons, forks, glasses and packaging wraps.
 Cost is one of the main issues for online retailers.
According to sources within the e-commerce industry, for online retailers, the charges for packaging comprise of around 2 percent to 3.5 percent of fulfilment costs which includes costs of shipping, delivery and compensation of the sellers for discounts. Using biodegradable plastic would therefore increase the costs significantly.