In 2024, companies are about to face consequences due to environmental pollution linked to the “polluter pays” idea. This concept gained importance after the tragic Rana Plaza factory accident in Bangladesh ten years ago, where over 1,000 underpaid workers lost their lives. Companies like Shein, Boohoo, and Primark continue to make inexpensive polyester clothing, adding to landfill waste. Plastic waste, including items like Coca-Cola bottles and Mars wrappers, exceeds 350 million metric tons a year. The upcoming year is expected to see a strict crackdown on fossil fuel-based waste, challenging plastic use in various sectors like food and fashion.

Plastic seems cheap, but factoring in environmental costs makes it ten times more expensive. The annual $3 trillion cost burdens governments and consumers, not plastic-producing companies. Proposed laws in California and the EU suggest textile and fashion companies must handle their products’ end-of-life responsibly. This aligns with the “extended producer responsibility” idea crucial to a UN treaty ending plastic pollution by 2024. As support for holding polluters accountable grows, the full financial impact on companies and investors remains uncertain, amidst the urgent need to address climate change and environmental damage.