Food Industry Asia completes first comprehensive study across Southeast Asia on tackling packaging waste and identifies levers to develop sustainable packaging initiatives


UN Environment accreditation strengthens food industry’s commitment to reduce Asia’s marine litter challenge

SINGAPORE, 18 SEPTEMBER 2018 – Food Industry Asia (FIA) today announced the release of its four-country study on tackling plastic and packaging waste in Southeast Asia. Covering Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam & Thailand – which collectively contribute to a quarter of all plastic marine debris, the study is the first of its kind undertaken by an industry body in Asia and will be used to support governments, industry and international organisations to identify challenges and develop solutions.

The studies found that the majority of plastic and solid waste leakage occurs due to uncollected waste and current initiatives are focused on larger urbanised towns and cities. The scale of impact of these initiatives were also found to be on a micro to small level, affecting only 5 percent or less of waste generated. These observations helped identify 31 levers to addressing the waste problems faced by these four countries.

The study goes on to suggest that rather than putting plastics as the sole focus area, it is in fact the way plastic waste is dealt with after consumption that should be a primary area for improvement and immediate attention. Although brands are collectively looking at ways to use less plastic and invest in product packaging innovation, more must be done with regard to improving infrastructure and facilitating correct disposal of plastics.

Edwin Seah, FIA’s Head of Sustainability and Communications, said “We recognise the role that the food & beverage industry must play when it comes to accelerating change in this area and established sustainable packaging as one of our key pillars in January this year. We are fully committed to driving change in Asia and look to join discussions on this issue with industry, governments and other key stakeholders,”.

As a result of FIA’s sustainable packaging work with policymakers and governments, the industry non-profit has attained accreditation with the United Nations (UN) Environment assembly. FIA is the first industry body in Asia to attain this accreditation which grants the organisation consultative status at the UN Environment Assembly.

This is another significant step in the organisation’s fight to tackle the region’s massive ocean waste problem, with four of the world’s biggest marine waste polluters based in South East Asia. The food industry has a primary role to play with FIA providing advice and support to the UN agency on behalf of the biggest food and beverage companies in the world.

“We are proud to be granted UN Environment accreditation and look forward to being part of the conversation on marine litter and sustainable packaging. FIA and our member companies are committed to working alongside governments to catalyse long-term systemic solutions to plastics waste,” said Mr. Seah. “This complements the four-country study we commissioned and will allow for more informed policy decisions and promote a more targeted approach to solving this global issue.”

Accreditation would enable FIA to participate and contribute to policy discussions during sessions of the UN Environment Assembly including Ministerial Consultations, and make oral and written submissions.

In recognition of the importance of industry collaboration on the issue of plastics waste, FIA have introduced a sustainability strategic pillar which will guide the industry agenda on this topic. This fourth pillar in FIA’s strategic priorities will act as an overarching goal across its other pillars of food safety, health & nutrition and trade & harmonisation.

About Food Industry Asia (FIA)

Food Industry Asia (FIA) is a non-profit organisation that was formed in 2010 to enable major food and beverage manufacturers to speak with one voice on complex food industry issues in the areas of health and nutrition, harmonisation of standards, and food safety. The organisation acts as a policy and regulatory centre for national industry associations and affiliated groups to engage with public bodies and other stakeholders across the Asia region.

For more information, please visit

Notes to the editor

For more information about the four-country study, please contact Edwin Seah at

Media Enquiries

Edwin Seah

Food Industry Asia

+65 9847 1045

Jonathan Parry / Nicole Ang

Spurwing Communications

+65 6340 7287