The Mirpuri Foundation was again leading from the front in its global campaign to change corporate and consumer attitudes to single-use plastics, at the launch of the Consumer Goods Forum Sustainable Retail Summit in Lisbon.

Speaking on behalf of the Foundation, Dr. Luíza Mirpuri delivered a presentation on ‘Re-thinking the plastics problem.’ Dr. Mirpuri  challenged corporations and retailers to re-think their use of single-use plastics and  pointed to the continued and serious damage they cause to the environment as well as the growing evidence of the adverse impact of microplastics on human health.

Dr. Mirpuri was speaking just days after a study by the University of Vienna called microplastics ‘the tobacco of our generation’ after finding that the scourge of plastic pollution has now spread to the human gut, with university researchers identifying ‘microplastic’ particles in the digestive systems of people across the globe.

Nine of the ten most common types of plastics were discovered in stool samples from individuals from eight countries.

The University’s findings have prompted calls for further research into whether and to what extent microplastics (particles less than 5mm long) are absorbed by the body and the possible long-term effects of such absorption.

The Sustainable Retail Summit provided a unique opportunity to learn first-hand how companies and consumers are taking positive action towards changing their behavior, improving transparency and overcoming one of today’s greatest industry challenges.

On day two of the event, Dr. Mirpuri continued to focus the Foundation’s campaign on the problems of polluting plastics, addressing the Summit on the theme ’Waste Not, Want Not: Collaborating on Sustainable Waste’.

Other leaders present alongside Dr. Mirpuri at the Consumer Goods Forum were Tiago Pitta e Cunha, the CEO of the Oceano Azul Foundation, Portugal; the BBC’s freelance broadcaster and journalist Tom Heap; the Director of Sustainable Business at Marks and Spencer, Mike Barry; Alex Hurd, Senior Director at Walmart’s Health&Wellness, Tiago Silva, Corporate Responsibility Senior Manager at Jerónimo Martins, Paul Crewe, the Executive Director and Chief Sustainability Officer for the Anthesis Group in the UK, Koichi Yanagita, Vice President of ESG, Kao Corporation, in Japan, and Ignacio Gavilan, Director of Environmental Sustainability at the Consumer Goods Forum. to an audience including Portuguese Environment Minister, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, and key industry leaders from global retail giants such as Walmart, Coca Cola, Sainsbury’s, Henkel, Ahold Delhaize, Marks & Spencer, Metro AG, Mars Incv and Sonae.

Among other issues covered were: migrant labour, consumer health, food waste and supply-chain transparency.