Companies Committing to the Fight Against Plastic Pollution: An Explorative Case Study

Henriette Bundgaard Knudsen & Katrine Margrethe Bjorholm Arup

Studenteropgave: Kandidatafhandlinger


The negative environmental impact from plastic waste is a growing area of concern, which has led various actors to take actions to address the issue. This thesis investigates how companies work with initiatives to reduce the adverse effects from plastic pollution. More specifically, the study addresses to what extent companies work with these initiatives and explore the factors that influence them. Companies show a willingness to implement actions and are exposed to pressure from various stakeholders, while simultaneously navigating in an uncertain field caused by a current legislative gap. With an outset in existing literature on corporate social responsibility and supply chain management, an empirical study of six representative companies with introduced and implemented actions to deal with plastic pollution has been conducted. The study concludes that the extent to which the companies have addressed plastic pollution differ. It is shown that some companies have implemented a selected number of initiatives, others have developed a specific plastic or packaging strategy outlining future actions to be implemented, whereas for one company, the production of recycled plastic constitutes the actual business model. The thesis further concludes that companies are affected by both internal and external factors when looking into ways to address plastic pollution. Some of these factors are more company-specific. Communication and cooperation are identified as key factors, as these are mentioned by all the companies that participated in the study. Communication has different purposes; it serves to draw attention to the actions introduced by the companies and it is used to address misinformation about plastic, while at the same time encouraging consumers to take action. It is recognised that cooperation is required to find solutions for newer and smarter ways to use plastic. Collaboration takes many shapes, which is shown by collaborative constellations across supply chains, with NGOs, policy-makers, and industry participants. The results extend existing research by providing an understanding of the underlying considerations of companies addressing plastic waste. From a practical view, this can serve as an inspiration for other companies on the verge of implementing solutions to cope with plastic and highlights that the current legislative gap creates uncertainty for companies initiating actions to address plastic pollution.

UddannelserCand.merc.ib International Business, (Kandidatuddannelse) Afsluttende afhandling
Antal sider115
VejledereTorben Juul Andersen