What the battle against plastic means for oil demand
Cleaning up the world’s plastic waste will be a monumental effort – one which will have major implications for petrochemical companies and the long-term demand for oil.
We look at the key implications of a ‘global clean-up’ for investors: petrochemical companies and the demand for oil.
In many ways, plastic is the perfect product. It’s lightweight, cheap and durable. Some modern plastics can have the same strength as steel or aluminium, at significantly lower weight. Relatively peaking, the environmental benefits of plastics should not be underestimated – if the next best packaging alternative were used, greenhouse gas emissions would triple alongside a similar increase in the mass of packaging required. It is no accident that demand for plastic has grown 20-fold in the past 50 years, and is expected to double again in the next 20.
But as the recent BBC documentary series Blue Planet 2 so vividly brought home for so many, plastic’s durability and chemical make-up is killing untold numbers of sea creatures, fish and birds. Nearly every government has committed to reducing plastic usage in response to this global problem. With this in mind, we look at the key implications of a ‘global clean-up’ for investors: petrochemical companies and the demand for oil.