- Dell Inc., General Motors, Microsoft, and other leading entities launch cross-industry consortium to scale down the use of ocean-bound plastics
- With support of UN Environment, The Lonely Whale will convene the group to create the first global, scalable and operational supply chain that reduces the amount of plastic entering the oceans
- Each company agrees to test integration of ocean-bound plastic into products or packaging and reduce source plastic across their operations and supply chain
Dell Inc., General Motors, Microsoft and others will form a collaborative and open-source initiative called NextWave. NextWave convenes leading technology and consumer-focused companies to develop the first-ever commercial-scale ocean-bound plastics supply chain. Additional supporting members of the group include UN Environment, 5Gyres Institute, the Zoological Society of London and New Materials Institute.
Research shows that an estimated eight million tonnes of plastic waste entered the ocean in 2010, and if trends do not change more than 150 million tonnes of plastic waste will have entered the ocean by 2025. This poses not only a threat to vital ocean ecosystems including critical fish nurseries and coral reefs but also adversely affects the health and longevity of marine species and humans.
NextWave members will share responsibility in development of a sustainable model that reduces ocean-bound plastic pollution at scale, while creating an economic and social benefit for multiple stakeholders. In addition, the group will ensure that the resulting supply chain has the infrastructure and support necessary to meet demand as well as align with globally approved social and environmental standards. Finally, the initiative will confirm the integrity of the supply chain and resulting product integration through chain-of-custody compliance and external, third-party verification of impact.
The Lonely Whale, an NGO dedicated to bringing people closer to the world’s ocean through K-12 education, consumer campaigns and market-based solutions will convene the group. NextWave will actively engage scientists and advocates working with marine litter and ocean health to advise on a sustainable model that supports the needs of coastal communities and environments. The initiative is supported by UN Environment, with private sector partners invited to sign up to the Clean Seas campaign as part of their commitment.
Kevin Brown, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Dell, said: “Collaboration is critical to addressing the issue of ocean plastic at scale. I’m thrilled to partner closely with leaders across industries to advance our collective interest in creating solutions that create value from waste.”
NextWave anticipates that together they will divert more than three million pounds of plastics from entering the ocean within five years, the equivalent to keeping 66 million water bottles from washing out to sea.
Importantly, member companies have agreed to also reduce plastic usage across their operations and supply chains. While working to stop the flow of ocean-bound plastic it is critical to ensure each company assesses its own plastic footprint and eliminate and/or significantly reduce its own use of single-use and non-recyclable plastics.
This initiative was driven out of the relationships between Dell and the Lonely Whale. In 2015, Dell partnered with Adrian Grenier, founder of Lonely Whale, to educate companies and consumers on the dangers of ocean plastics through the Lonely Whale VR experience, powered by Dell. Dell launched its first ocean-bound plastic packaging pilot in February 2017 and assisted with the launch of the UN Environment Programme’s Clean Seas Initiative which has led to more than 33 countries taking action to reduce marine litter. In June Dell and Lonely Whale addressed the United Nations at the 2017 UN Ocean Conference, where Dell pledged its commitment to UN SDG Goal 14.
Erik Solheim, Executive Director, United Nations Environment, said: “The oceans are facing a plastic pandemic and it is critical for companies to take ownership of their supply chains and for consumers to be aware of how their everyday choices can have a lasting legacy. We welcome Dell and Lonely Whale for organising this working group and spearheading what we hope will be a catalyst for innovation that can only be achieved by working together.”
John Bradburn, Global Manager of Waste Reduction, General Motors, added: “Whether it’s turning ocean oil booms or Flint water bottles into car parts, GM has been working to address water-related waste. Advancing the circular economy requires us to see items not as what they are, but what they can become. When we work together, cross-industry with small and large companies alike, we unlock even more value from these resources and multiply the positive impact.”
Dell has a history of supporting programmes that further enable a circular economy as a part of its 2020 Legacy of Good Plan. If you would like to learn more about the initiative visit NextWave-Plastics.org, and to learn more about Dell’s work in ocean plastics, please visit Dell’s Ocean Plastics Program page.
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