CMS! is an academic start-up of the Vienna Forum für Democracy and Human Rights aimed at contributing to the reduction of plastic waste in the Mediterranean Sea. To achieve our goal, we analyse national and international legal frameworks, work closely with renowned NGOs and institutions from all over Europe and give hands on advice to reduce plastic in our everyday life. Talented and driven people from different academic backgrounds build our team, with one common goal – a cleaner Mediterranean Sea!

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CMS! is funded by the Hermann and Marianne Straniak Foundation.

Project Lead

This project is managed by Hannes Tretter and Philip Wilfing. Hannes Tretter is responsible for scientific and content management, while Philip Wilfing is in charge of organization and internal communication.

EU Politics

The EU-Politics Team is mainly focussing on trying to determine the existing status quo about currently ongoing initiatives, strategies and action plans by the main institutions of the European Union that face the problem of plastic pollution with special emphasis on the area of the mediterranean sea. Noteworthy in this regard is the Directorate-General for Environment, the European Commission Department responsible for environment policy.

Therefore we analyse the available papers and letters of intent, compare them to each other and at least extract the possible impact on plastic waste reduction.

Some of the ongoing future plans already sound promising but we believe that there is a lot of work to do to help the political will to its big breakthrough.

EU Law

The team focuses on the efforts of the European Union for cooperative handling of urban solid waste and protecting the maritime ecosystem.

The aim of the work is to compare the relevant EU regulations and directives, other legal acts and new regulations on the basis of different factual issues regarding plastic littering in a comprehensive analysis.

As marine litter is becoming a growing problem for the Mediterranean Sea and affects not only the coastal states, but the entire European Union, we consider it an important task for the Union to tackle the problem both from regulating land-based activities, as a developing a more structured approach and systematic collaboration on marine affairs.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

The CSR-Team at CMS! looks at the responsibilities of companies producing, utilizing and recycling or disposing plastic products.

The aim is to show why companies are responsible for their plastic waste in the mediterranean sea and worldwide, to collect best practices and to provide recommendations.​

Therefore we analyse legal documents and initiatives regarding Corporate Social Responsibility such as the Global Compact, the Ruggie Principles, the OECD Guidelines, the CSR strategy of the European Union and have a look at CSR activities already applied in the plastic-related industry by examining sustainability reports and evaluating those measures. 


When it comes to the area of international law we want to find out what legal and political documents, programs and measures relating to plastic pollution in the mediterranean sea and surrounding countries are already existing and in force. We are concentrating on the UN Environment Programm (UNEP) since the UN is the biggest, most powerful international organization. This UN Programm is or could be able to have a great impact on international law and also on regulations in several countries all over the world. One example of an UNEP launched program which will be relevant for us is „Clean Seas“, which fights against marine plastic pollution on a global scale. Apart from the UN Environmental Programm we want to take a closer look at the OSCE and its Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation. We have the chance to research if there are already recommendations, measures or legislation that helps us to find out more about the law referring to marine litter and plastic pollution in the mediterranean sea.

NGOs & Universities

We facilitate the communication and cooperation with universities and research institutes in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, as well as with NGOs, that address the problem of plastic waste pollution of the oceans. Thereby the team seeks to gather expertise on national provisions, which regulate inter alia the disposal and the recycling of plastic waste, notably where this has an impact on the marine environment.

Also, the team invites legal scholars and (marine) biologists to cooperate on formulating legal policy recommendations and initiatives to tackle the problem.

Social Media

Transfer of knowledge increases the impact and dissemination of academic discussions and enriches the research. Thus the Social Media Team distributes news and research results regarding legislative developments that aim at reducing plastic in the mediterranean sea. Apart from that we encourage and give advice on how to contribute to a cleaner sea as a single person in his/her everyday life via different social media channels. In order to raise awareness we will organize events with national and international experts and stakeholders and publish fruitful discussions on our website.

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