Voice of the Oceans is an organization led by the Schurmanns, a Brazilian family that’s a modern-day cross between Robinson Crusoe and Jacques Cousteau. The Schurmanns have been sailing the seas for 40 years focused on their mission to rid the oceans of plastics pollution by mobilizing people, businesses, and governments around the world to adopt behaviors and policies that advance oceanic conservation.
The expedition’s sailboat, Kat, is a fully contained biosphere that is currently docked in New York Harbor where the organization continues discussions with the United Nations and industry partners on measures that will improve the health of the oceans by minimizing plastic waste.
“We saw strong momentum at the UN Ocean Conference this year for a global treaty to curb plastic pollution by establishing a legally binding international agreement over the next two years,” said David Schurmann, CEO of Voice of the Oceans and panelist at the conference, which took place in Lisbon at the end of June. “This agreement by 175 countries will take humanity a step closer toward a new plastics economy that incentivizes and rewards those who prioritize conservation-centric behaviors. Our goal with the expedition’s stop in New York is to usher in a new era of collaboration with industry leaders and develop innovations that can be applied on a large scale.”
“We’re excited to leverage Voice of the Ocean’s expertise in reducing plastic waste and apply those learnings across our supply chain,” said Marcelo Borges, CEO of Tramontina USA, a U.S. sponsor of the expedition. “In addition to our long history of eco-friendly practices, Tramontina continues to challenge itself to not only innovate but also lead our business to a more sustainable future. Simultaneously, we also have the vision to develop new projects based on circular economy practices. In keeping with our ongoing commitment to sustainable business practices, we are working on solutions alongside environmental consulting firm Searious Business and Voice of the Oceans to reduce single-use plastic in our packaging.”
Tramontina is part of a global housewares manufacturer group whose products can be found in major retailers across the U.S. and in more than 120 countries around the world. Another expedition partner is Natura, part of Natura & Co., the world’s fourth largest pure-play beauty group which also includes Avon, The Body Shop, and Aesop. Known not only for the quality of its products but also for its commitment to sustainability, Natura is dedicated to addressing critical environmental issues through its business model.
In addition to offering beauty products with refills, and packaging made of recycled, recyclable, and renewable resources (such as sugar cane), Natura challenges the status quo with one of its latest launches by using 50% recycled glass and up to 30% plastic in Kaiak fragrance bottles – not to mention eliminating the single-use plastic cellophane (a common industry practice). What is usually put aside as trash is transformed and repurposed into something new, and most importantly removing 23 tons of recycled plastic from the environment.
“Voice of the Oceans raises awareness of the plastic waste issue and educates consumers about the interconnectedness of our actions. If consumers are not conscious of it, they won’t demand changes. We need to push the whole industry to move together and protect the environment,” says Maria Eduarda Cavalcanti, Natura USA General Manager.
Voice of the Oceans’s latest expedition began in Santa Catarina, Brazil in August of 2021 and will travel to more than 65 locations around the world before it concludes in Auckland, New Zealand in November of 2023. Some important data points about plastic waste and the negative impact on the oceans include:
The arts are an important part of how Voice of the Oceans raises awareness about the harm plastic waste is causing to our planet. A musical performance by Crystal Sky will honor Voice of the Oceans in New York as well as an art exhibit led by Chief Curator Vida Sabbaghi and Co-Curator Jade Matarazzo entitled “Obsessive Sea” with participating artists Carla Goldberg, Jacques Jarrige, Alex Korolkovas, Stephen Mallon, and Sui Park.
Voice of the Oceans‘ purpose is to document the extent of the plastic pollution problem and identify solutions that protect the oceans and improve our planet. Our efforts are led by the Schurmann family with support from the U.N. Environment Programme, the Plastic Soup Foundation, and corporate partners supporting Voice of the Ocean in its ESG efforts include perfume brand Kaiak (Natura), beer brand Corona (Ambev), writing, drawing and creative products brand Faber Castell, Basic Sanitation Company of the State of São Paulo (Brazil) Sabesp and pharmaceutical retail network RaiaDrogasil. Through the data we collect and share, we have opened a global dialogue about ocean pollution that includes not only improving our beaches, but also the animals that are harmed by our plastic waste and carry this invisible waste into the food chain. Micro- and nano-plastics found in the oceans also prevent the oceans from playing their role in sustaining the environment, such as producing oxygen and maintaining climate balance. Follow our expedition and support our efforts at https://voiceoftheoceans.com/
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