GUIDE ON DISPOSABLE PLASTIC REDUCTION MANAGEMENT RULES FOR E-COMMERCE PLATFORMS
While online retail is playing an increasingly significant role in the national economy with its development, the environmental impacts caused by its business shall not be ignored. The most prominent impact is the extensive use and disposal of express delivery and takeaway packages. Since the release of the "Opinions on Further Strengthening the Control of Plastic Pollution" by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment in 2020, various regulations and normative documents related to plastic pollution and the healthy development of the e-commerce industry have emphasized the primary responsibilities of e-commerce and food delivery platforms in disposable plastics reduction. The "Administrative Measures for the Use and Reporting of Disposable Plastic Products by Business Operators" issued by the Ministry of Commerce on May 10, 2023 provides how e-commerce and food delivery platforms should fulfill their governance responsibilities, especially with respect to managing and supervising the use reduction of disposable plastics by platform merchants.
Platforms have an unshirkable responsibility for disposable plastic packaging reductions by their merchants. On the other hand, platforms possess advantages and capabilities that merchants lack in advancing packaging reduction efforts.
This Guide provides a reference framework and example of management rules for disposable plastic products reduction by platforms. It outlines relevant policies, laws, regulations, and domestic and international case studies on e-commerce and food delivery platforms, and summarizes the core elements of plastic reduction management rules. The management rules refer to the rules or guiding policies established by the platforms for platform merchants regarding the reduction of disposable plastic packaging in the retail and takeaway sectors. The Guide suggests that platforms shall establish a long-term, dynamic, and closed-loop management system consisting the dimensions of merchant entry agreements and commitments, information collection and reporting, supervision and inspection, rewards and penalties, and exit mechanisms. Platform enterprises can refer to this framework to develop their own platform rules suitable for their specific businesses. After the implementation of relevant regulations, they can quickly adapt to regulatory requirements and drive platform merchants to collectively achieve green and sustainable development.