Plastic Hunters Assemble: It is time to rid ourselves of the plastic plague

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This week I want to use this blog to put a focus on something which is a huge issue for me, our business and the world. That is the issue of sustainability and protecting our oceans.

This is a cause which is close to my heart. Thanks to my previous life as a sailor and World Champion I have spent years of my life on the oceans and I have a deep appreciation for not just their beauty, but the vital role they play in our world and its ecosystem. Make no mistake, without healthy and working oceans and seas, we do not have a working planet.

So, I am deeply proud to announce this week that we at 2.0 & Partners are supporting the excellent work of The Ocean Cleanup as an official Independent Supporter in 2023. This brilliant non-profit organisation was set up in 2013 by Boyan Slat and today has a team of more that 120 engineers, researchers, scientists and experts working around the world to rid the oceans of the scourge of plastic pollution.

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Our support of this great cause is much more than just a token gesture, it is part of a much wider battle which I want to wage across our business. The work of The Ocean Cleanup is an incredible cause and it is one which I encourage each of you to look up and support yourselves – this will not be the last time you hear me suggest this. But I also want to lead a movement of Plastic Hunters in duty-free and travel retail – and across our business.

We hear so much talk about reducing the plastic in packaging, or introducing more recyclable packaging, or deploying more PET; the truth is the time is coming to talk seriously about how and when we are eliminating this plague completely. We need to get rid of it or replace it. And that requires more than politely applauding as big brands make a fraction of the tonnes of plastic they pour into the world every year reusable. We need to call out token gestures and always ask what is next? What more can be done?

It was heartening to see stories of HMSHost rolling out non-plastic straws across its US airport business. Why is this just in the US? Why are more companies not doing the same? The days when it’s acceptable to be doing sustainability reviews and creating 25-year plans are over. That is not action anymore.

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Brands like Patagonia, which last year destroyed greenwashing by becoming a non-profit to support the environment, have set a bar. They are not unique outliers. They should be aspirational. That is not an achievable move for every company, but everyone should be asking how close to that level they can get.

For us at 2.0 & Partners, supporting The Ocean Cleanup is just a part of our efforts. We have been working for years with Ecologi to ensure we are offsetting our carbon (a bare minimum today) and this year we will be doing more to help the ocean clean-up cause by carrying out our own beach cleans to remove plastic and waste from our oceans. Maybe some of you would like to join us?

Either way, I hope this is the year where we do not just do something, but we all ask: What more can I do?