Ocean Plastic targeted by National Geographic and Sky

It was World Oceans Day on June 8, and the main message of this day was a stark reminder of the amount of ocean plastic and the urgency with which we have to change our habits. On that note National Geographic recently joined forces with Sky to support Sky Ocean Ventures initiative.

In March 2018 media giant Sky launched Sky Ocean Ventures, “an impact investment vehicle that will invest in new ideas and businesses who can help solve the oceans plastic crisis”. Sky Ocean Ventures hopes to use its initial cornerstone commitment of £25 million to seek out the investment opportunities from other businesses and quickly scale up to £100 million that can help solve the ocean plastic crisis and seek to find solutions to everyday plastic problems.

Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s Group Chief Executive said:

“We think it’s time businesses stop dumping harmful plastic in to the sea and instead start pumping more money into innovation. Sky Ocean Ventures is a bold new creation that will support breakthrough thinking and invest in promising new ideas that will help turn off the plastics tap. We look forward to working with other like-minded organisations who can help us find and support innovators who are developing products, materials and business models that will create meaningful change.”

Alongside Sky Ocean Ventures Sky is also launching Innovators in Residence, “an incubator project that will offer businesses the opportunity to pilot and test their products at Sky’s London campus”. The first residency in the incubator project is Skipping Rocks Lab, an innovative sustainable packaging start-up, that are pioneering the use of natural materials extracted from plants and seaweed, to create packaging with low environmental impact.

Sky aims to inspire simple everyday changes to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the oceans or on the landfills. And it leads by example and has committed to being free from single-use plastic by 2020.

“This means that 1,000 tonnes of plastic will be removed from its supply chain and operation – the equivalent of seven blue whales. Its commitment means the recently launched Sky Soundbox and NOW TV Smart Stick packaging are already free from single-use plastics, with all Sky branded products to be single-use plastic free by the end of 2018.”

To support Sky Ocean Ventures initiative National Geographic commits $10 million to bring its scientific expertise, grants and media reach, and to help to reduce marine plastic and encourage enterprise innovation in this area. National Geographic will support the fund’s vision with a financial commitment that will focus on supporting activities that align with the initiative’s mission.  As National Geographic notes, these activities will include:

Grants: Targeted funding will be made available with the National Geographic Society and Sky issuing calls for proposals that will measurably reduce plastic pollution before it reaches the ocean. Priority will be given to projects that aim to develop solutions to help stop plastic from reaching waterways through improved recycling, waste management or other means as well as innovative methods that engage stakeholders to create solutions that dramatically reduce plastic use and/or input into watersheds.

Innovation Challenges: A series of Innovation Challenges issued to the best talents and minds around the globe will identify, award and support groundbreaking technologies designed to reduce plastic waste and its impact on oceans. Challenges will address the myriad inefficiencies in the plastics value chain from material innovation and product design to consumer use and collection.

Events: A series of events will convene and engage industry leaders, corporations, institutions and foundations focused on the issue of marine plastic pollution.”

The collaboration between Sky and National Geographic will create the largest global media campaign to date to reduce plastic waste in the world’s oceans. Sky is not the only major firm working on reducing its footprint on this planet. In 2017 a group of businesses including Dell and General Motors announced a joint effort to drive out ocean plastics.

Baiba Šustere

Baiba Šustere is a writer whose work focuses on mindfulness, health and wellbeing.