Sky partners with Ambienta to spur corporate funding for projects tackling ocean plastic

Between eight and 12 million tonnes of plastic is believed to seep into the oceans each year

Announced ahead of the World Ocean Summit, which begins on Tuesday (5 March), the partnership will see Ambienta share its best-practice advice for measuring the environmental impact of plastic-reduction projects and its methodologies for integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into business management activities with Sky Ocean Ventures.

These tools and methodologies, Ambienta claims, have been developed after ten years of collaboration with sustainability teams in big-name companies. The two companies will use them to jointly develop a common methodology for measuring the environmental and social impact of plastic pollution on marine habitats and communities.

The methodology will also enable finance firms, individual investors and large companies to measure the scale of the benefits they could reap from investing in marine stewardship.

Having this information will serve to spur more investment in projects tackling marine pollution by providing security to investors, Sky Ocean Ventures claims. Projects which the methodology will cover include those developing innovative biodegradable or compostable plastic alternatives, those researching packaging-free products and those working to transform business models to eliminate plastic ‘leaks’.

“We are looking forward to collaborating with Ambienta to identify together those innovators that are developing products, materials and business models that are really going to make the difference for the safeguard of our planet,” Sky Ocean Ventures’ group director Frederic Michel said.

To ensure a joined-up approach to collaboration, Ambienta’s head of sustainability strategy Fabio Ranghino will sit on Sky Ocean Ventures’ advisory board for the duration of the partnership.

Partnerships against plastic waste

Launched in 2017, Sky Ocean Ventures was the first non-strategic investment fund with an aim of protecting the marine environment to be founded by a FTSE 100 firm. Sky committed £25m to start the fund and is targeting a further £75m of external investment by 2020.

The first firm to benefit from the fund was Skipping Rocks lab – a start-up which has developed, produced and scaled-up its range of edible alternatives to plastic packaging, made from seaweed proteins. The firm’s edible sachets, called Oohos, have since received backing from the likes of Lucozade, Selfridges and Just Eat.

Sky’s move to fund such projects builds on the company’s commitment to remove all single-use plastics from its global operations, products and supply chains by 2020 –  an unprecedented pledge within its sector.

Since announcing this ambition in October 2017, the broadcaster has worked with logistics partner Unipart to remove around 80 tonnes of single-use plastic from its operations, largely through a string of re-designs to its packaging. Sky has also removed plastic water bottles from all its offices and given all staff a reusable alternative – a move it claims has saved approximately 500,000 plastic bottles in a year.

In total, Sky saved around 175 tonnes of single-use plastic in 2018 alone, equivalent to 19 rubbish trucks full.

In a bid to scale up this progress and engage consumers with its plastics mission, Sky utilised its reach as a media giant by using social media, celebrity endorsements, promotions at sports events, expert tips from an array of industry experts, and an exclusive 45-minute TV documentary of its own to spread awareness of the plastics pollution problem.

The company has also launched partnerships with the likes of the Premier League, National Geographic and Imperial College London to help its plastics actions reach a wider audience.

Eliminating single-use plastic from YOUR organisation

Sky’s head of inspirational business Fiona Ball recently took part in an edie webinar exploring how companies can collaborate, innovate and act to drive further, more ambitious action on plastics.

Hosted in association with phs and edie’s Mission Possible Plastic Hub, the interactive webinar also saw representatives from Cranswick, Aquafil and A Plastic Planet give their advice.

The key takeaways of that webinar, plus details of how to watch the hour-long session on demand, can be found here.

Sarah George

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