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What makes a company great?

Mark Lashier, President and Chief Executive Officer
Houston's petrochemical industry is an economic engine that drives our region's
success. We employ tens of thousands of people in high paying jobs and our products and services are bettering lives around the world.
But the global rise in mismanaged plastic waste threatens the many benefits that plastics provide to society, from improved living standards to advances in hygiene and nutrition. Because our companies operate with keen environmental stewardship, as an industry we can help to solve the problem.
Waste management and recycling infrastructure in many parts of the world is inadequate and, as a result, plastic waste is ending up in our environment, including our oceans. This is unacceptable and will require bold action.
The employees of Chevron Phillips Chemical are your family, friends and neighbors and — like you — we care deeply about our environment. That is why I am proud to announce that our company is collaborating with nearly 30 global corporations to create the Alliance to End Plastic Waste. Together, we are committing our resources and expertise to end the flow of plastic waste into unintended places and have pledged more than $1 billion with the goal of investing $1.5 billion over five years.
The Alliance represents a historic first. It is comprised of companies across the entire plastics and consumer goods value chains. We are a group that includes top manufacturers, retailers and waste management firms.
Of course, we are aware of a growing sentiment that plastic producers, users and brand owners may be at the root of the problem, and that ending the use of plastics is the only solution. Some speculate that product bans and replacing plastics with other materials will solve the plastic waste issue. These well-intentioned initiatives unfortunately hide greater environmental costs. In fact, a 2016 study by Trucost found that plastics in consumer goods and packaging offer four times the environmental savings other alternatives can provide.
Plastic products enable advancement and development around the globe. With their demand set to double by 2030, there has never been a better time to advance systems for responsibly handling the products making modern life possible after their intended use.
That is why the Alliance will target innovative and sustainable solutions that will manage waste and promote the best ways to recycle, reuse and dispose of plastic. By combining the talents of the world's greatest companies, we are confident this approach will succeed.
In the petrochemical industry, innovation has already begun, including research on new uses for recycled plastic and the prospect of more efficient and economically viable waste recovery systems. If our industry and consumers work together, we can significantly decrease the unacceptable levels of plastic in the environment.
But no one company, community or nation can solve this issue alone. That is why the Alliance to End Plastic Waste will collaborate with governments worldwide, especially those in regions challenged the most from plastic waste. Our group will also join forces with innovators, investors and environmental and conservation groups to make significant inroads into solving this issue.
In addition, we will work to educate cities and communities to expand capabilities for recycling plastic waste. Companies, governments, NGOs and consumers all have a role in this. With their support, we can help societies to do more to reduce waste, recycle and reuse as much as possible.
Let me be clear: We are facing a global waste problem. Plastic debris is one of many materials that end up in the wrong places. All told, our global group believes that this is a solvable challenge if we make the right choices and focus on the best solutions.
Today, we come together as corporate citizens to demand more of ourselves. We are asking you to join us in this effort and, together, we will not just improve our world, but leave to our children a planet in better shape than it is now.
This column first appeared on Jan. 15, 2019, in the online edition of the Houston Chronicle.