European entrepreneurs are working to create companies that help oceans out of a combination of their love of the sea, their duty as citizens, and a business idea.
This shows the power and creativity that civil society and the private sector can have when they decide to use their entrepreneurship and take action in the right direction.
One company that has developed out of this need to act is Sea2see, a company that are making fashionable sunglasses out of recycled plastics from the ocean. They call it ‘upcycling the ocean’.
Eight billion kg of plastic are thrown in the sea annually, so Sea2see works in collaboration with fishing communities to collect sea plastic and discarded fishing gear.
By doing this they collect ten tons of abandoned gear in Spain per month. They are then separating it, washing it, developing it, and turning it into sunglasses that are 100% made in Italy.
The Belgian founder and CEO of Sea2see, Francois van den Abeele, was driven by a terrible statistic he heard at the World Economic Forum at Davos, that by 2050 there could be more plastic in the sea than fish.
The objective of Sea2see is to expand the collection of plastic waste to African countries in order to give value to discarded plastic waste and fishnets as well as incentivise fishing communities to collect the waste.
They educate the fishermen and show them how to care for the sea, as well as to be a part of the process of collecting, sorting and recycling the old nets and plastic that are left in the ocean and rendered useless.
With a simple product, Sea2see are proving that waste can be reconverted into a quality product, even in the fashion industry, and making all of their customers ambassadors of change.
The Government of Belgium and UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission co-organised a 3-day workshop ‘Healthy Oceans Resilient Islands’, in which Sea2See were involved.
The event was to support the ongoing negotiations in New York on the new UN Convention on the protection of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBJN).
This workshop is one in a series across the world in the run-up to the Oceans Conference in the UN Headquarters in New York on 5-9 June.
The event attracted international guests from Small Island Developing States (SIDS) as well as entrepreneurs, international organisations and university departments to discuss their own sustainable projects and alternative solutions to fight ocean pollution.
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