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DP World London Gateway works with partners to cut single-use plastics

20 November 2018

Across almost every part of the economy, there are coordinated efforts underway to create a more sustainable society. But there’s a secret to success here that many organisations overlook. The reality is it’s impossible to make real progress working alone, as businesses and industries are increasingly complex and interdependent.

Success depends on shared commitment and effective collaboration between multiple stakeholders, something that will be integral to DP World’s new single use plastic campaign.

Sustainability for long-term commercial success

As a company that depends on waterways and the sea, DP World understands more than most the need to safe-harbour the treasures the oceans hold and the opportunities they provide. That’s why we were the first company in our industry to join the World Ocean Council, a cross-sector private sector alliance committed to corporate ocean responsibility. It’s also why we decided to eliminate single-use plastics at DP World London Gateway.

Scrapping single-use plastics

Plastic causes pollution throughout its entire life cycle – from initial fossil fuel extraction, to the hundreds, and even thousands of years some items can take to breakdown. As a result, it’s estimated there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.

To kick-off DP World London Gateway’s single-use plastics initiative, we performed an audit onsite to identify the key activities that would drive success. We contacted over 60 of our suppliers to find out where they use single-use plastics, and how we can work together to reduce this. Within six weeks of initiating this process, 14 have confirmed they can be single use plastic free suppliers to us.

Castle Point Motors, responsible for all of our onsite vehicle supply and maintenance, provides a great example of the results this kind of collaboration can have. Following an initial meeting, its CEO committed not only to supporting reduction of plastics when dealing with DP World, but across its entire operation. Moreover, the organisation recruited an additional five of its key suppliers to the campaign.

From collaboration to innovation

To promote broader engagement with the project, we recently hosted a meeting with Castle Point Motors and its partners: Euro Tunnel, Railscape, Ringway Jobs, 727 Truck Parts Specialist and Clean Green. We were also delighted to have political support in the attendance of local MP Rebecca Harris. Holding regular meetings like this is vital for ongoing success, helping to agree strategy, set realistic targets and communicate progress. Further, it ensures stakeholders hold each other accountable, and keep to agreed timeframes. Part of the aims of this group is to create a multiplier effect so whilst each company has committed to going single use plastic free, they will each bring an additional five suppliers to the table by the next meeting in early 2019.

It’s important to understand this is not an easy task, there will be some quick wins, but achieving your goals is dependent on long term commitment and cross-sector collaboration. Personal and professional passion play a big part, so bringing together the right group of people can be the difference between success and failure. The old ways of working will result in the same outcomes - we all need to find new ways of doing things if we are going to increase operational efficiency, minimise waste and reduce our impact on the environment.

Driving sustainable supply chains

DP World London Gateway will have eliminated the use of single-use plastic drinking receptacles by December 2018, and we’ve set ourselves the ambitious target of removing all single-use plastic from site by the end of 2019.

Since work began to turn land that has been home to heavy industry for decades into a one-stop hub for logistics solutions, we have ensured that sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. Whether it be through Planet Mark accreditation, which commits the port and Logistics Park to continually reduce its carbon use, or engaging with local school pupils and members of the community, we are committed to driving high standards wherever we can to create a better environment and a more resilient society. This approach makes business sense for all of us today, and with new regulations on the horizon, it will become increasingly important in the future.

Now our journey is underway, we want to help our customers to build more sustainable supply chains. Get in touch today to discuss how we help.    

Emma Cowper Sustainability Manager at DP World London Gateway, recently won Sustainability Influencer of the Year at the Planet Mark Awards. Contact her on