Compromise isn't sexy. (Am I allowed to use the term sexy in a business publication about plastics? Especially when speaking about plastics and public policy? I'm not sure.)
Compromise is, however, needed in global discussions about how the world can — and must — create a more sustainable plastics industry that will continue to produce needed packaging, safety, medical and other equipment while also not clogging waterways or damaging residents' health.
At least that's how U.S. State Department negotiator Elizabeth Nichols sees the need to balance different requirements during negotiations for a plastics treaty.
"We don't want to join a faction here," Nichols told an American Chemistry Council conference recently. "I think we can bring these groups together because we are practical, we're realistic, and we have a position also that brings in both sides."
PN's Steve Toloken attended the ACC event featuring Nichols and he was at the treaty talks in Paris at the start of the summer that saw a group of nations calling themselves the High Ambition Coalition seeking strict rules on plastics and nations from oil-producing countries that want more flexibility.
The U.S., she said, wants to "play a bridge-builder role."
"We occupy kind of a middle of the road path," Nichols said.