National Geographic will commit $10m to bring its scientific expertise, grants and media reach to support the work of Sky Ocean Ventures, launched last month to invest in businesses that can help solve the ocean plastic crisis.

Sky and National Geographic will partner on a new set of grants to be given to projects that develop solutions to stop plastic reaching waterways. A series of Innovation Challenges that address inefficiencies in product design and consumer use will be issued to entrepreneurs to identify and award pioneering technologies.  

Sky’s group chief executive Jeremy Darroch said: “National Geographic is a world leader in science and exploration with expertise, knowledge and credibility that only comes from spending over a century protecting our planet.

“I’m excited that we share the same vision and understand the pressing need to take action and find meaningful solutions to the plastics problem. Together, we will create real impact, and I look forward to bringing other financial and non-financial partners on board.”

Transformative ideas

Sky Ocean Ventures includes a cornerstone commitment of £25m from Sky, with the ambition to scale up to £100m with the support of other businesses.

The project encourages innovators who are developing plastic packaging alternatives, new tech for the home that will assist recycling and those developing alternative fibres for clothing to share their ideas and seek support.

A series of events will convene and engage industry leaders, businesses and institutions focused on the issue of marine plastic pollution.

“This is a unique opportunity to build upon National Geographic Society’s 130-year history of investing in bold people with transformative ideas and using the power of our storytellers to help achieve a planet in balance,” National Geographic Partners’ chief executive Gary Knell said.

“By 2025, Sky and National Geographic will have helped to bring pledges of people taking action to reduce their own plastic footprint, helped transform the way businesses deal with their supply chain and innovation as far as plastic is concerned and will have invested in or supported technologies with high potential to be transformational.”

More than five million people have actively engaged with Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign since its January 2017 launch. This figure was revealed in the broadcaster’s latest CSR report, which also highlighted that Sky has hit half of its environmental targets three years early.

In October 2017, Sky announced it would remove all single-use plastics from its operations, products and supply chain by 2020.

George Ogleby

Comments (1)

  1. Keiron Shatwell says:

    Education is the key to reducing this problem. Especially amongst the younger generations to make them think twice about how they dispose of their waste. Plastic per se isn’t the problem but litter is.

    Then we need to improve the waste management processes in poorer countries so that waste doesn’t just get dumped to end up in streams and rivers and eventually the sea. The Yellow River and the Ganges/Bhamrhaputra deposit the vast majority of plastic waste into the oceans. Stopping this tidal wave of waste at source will have a massive impact on the oceans

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