November 17, 2022

Author: Laura Wotschak and Jan Henke, ISCC System GmbH

Source: TER PLASTIC News, Issue 2022/2023

It seems impossible to imagine everyday life without plastic, and for good reason: it is a versatile, pure, and lightweight material and is therefore used throughout all industries. Its durability though, another factor that contributed to its initial triumph, is also one of its biggest drawbacks. Environmental pollution from used plastics and microplastics has reached a level that can no longer be ignored. Added to this is the environmentally damaging procurement of the finite fossil raw materials oil and gas, from which plastic is usually synthesized.

As a result, conventional plastic has gotten a bad reputation in recent years. Regulators, NGOs, and consumers are increasingly pushing for sustainable alternatives. Companies have picked up on this and more and more are establishing targets to achieve higher recycling rates, integrate alternative raw materials and reach climate neutrality by 2050. More than 2000 companies, for instance, are already working with the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTI) to reduce their emissions on a scientific basis.

Since a complete elimination of plastic is neither feasible nor desirable, alternative means of producing the popular material are on the rise. Plastics made from renewable biomaterials such as sugarcane or corn, or from recycled used plastics, i.e., circular materials, are promising solutions to the problem. This corresponds to today’s reality: attentive customers, consumers and other stakeholders can find a whole range of individual claims for raw materials, intermediates or final products in grocery stores and drugstores that refer to the sustainability of the packaging or the contents. But how can they be sure that the product in their hands is genuinely sustainable? To make strong and credible claims that customers and consumers can truly rely on, companies can use certification systems.

ISCC (International Sustainability and Carbon Certification) ensures sustainability, traceability, raw material identity and correct statements about the certified material. ISCC’s vision is a carbon neutral world and a true circular economy, where society no longer produces (plastic) waste and instead creates, reuses, and recycles bio and circular products. The ISCC logo guarantees just that. It proves that no deforestation to produce biomaterials has occurred, quantities and conversion factors throughout the value chain were closely monitored, that there has been a correct application of mass balance, attribution, and carbon footprint calculations, and much more.

Companies along the supply chain recognize ISCC’s credibility through its robust multi-stakeholder system, high sustainability standard, broad market recognition, and wide raw material and product coverage and increasingly get certified or licensed by ISCC. One of many examples is the TER Plastics Polymer Group, which this April received ISCC Plus certification for the marketing and distribution of certified polymers made from renewable biomaterials or recycled circular materials.