Three companies saving oceans from environmental catastrophe

Aegon AM's Adam Hussain says the need to effectively collect waste material from our seas is of paramount importance

Initially hailed for its non-decaying, cheap to manufacture, lightweight properties, we are now heavily reliant on plastic. It’s everywhere. Including in our oceans.

The need to effectively collect waste material is of paramount importance. Some 32% of all plastic packaging ends up ‘leaking’ into our environment each year and if current practices continue there could potentially be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050.

A situation so awful deserves immediate collective action. Around 95% of material value in plastic packaging is lost in the economy shortly after first use. It’s not unreasonable to expect businesses to start thinking about their impact on oceans, and biodiversity.

See also: – Diving into three funds for World Ocean Day

Below I have identified three companies helping to address this major sustainability issue.

Tomra Systems

TOMRA Systems is the leading provider of advanced sensor-based collection and sorting solutions and is a key enabler of effective recovery and recycling of used materials, including plastic.

The company’s approximate 80,000 automated reverse vending machines (RVMs) represent over 70% of the global RVM market. It is responsible for collecting, recognising & processing more than 40bn used beverage containers annually.

However, this represents under 3% of all beverage containers currently sold each year. TOMRA aims to increase global recycling collection to 40% and increase plastics in the closed-loop system to 30% of total used material by 2030.

Adidas

Adidas is well known for its stylish sportswear. In 2019, Adidas intercepted the equivalent of 4.5 billion plastic bottles for use in its recycled apparel products alone.

And in 2020, it created 15-20 million shoes with Parley Ocean Plastic, a material created from upcycled plastic waste intercepted from beaches and coastal communities before reaching the ocean.

For the first time last year, more than half of polyester used in Adidas products came from recycled plastic waste. From 2024 onwards, Adidas has committed to using recycled polyester exclusively.

Kornit Digital

Kornit Digital aims to provide an effective solution to the problem of excessive wastewater in the traditional manufacturing of textiles.

Through the dyeing, printing and finishing stages, the process accounts for roughly 20% of global wastewater. This is equivalent to five trillion litres or two million Olympic-sized swimming pools every year. This problem extends beyond the manufacturing process – water waste is often not treated to remove pollutants before it is disposed of. 

We are particularly excited about Kornit from both an investment and a sustainability perspective. Its printers utilise a 100% water-free process, with no pre-treatment, steaming or washing required. Their NeoPigment printing inks are non-hazardous, non-toxic and biodegradable. Kornit’s solution really is catwalk worthy.

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Natalie Kenway

Natalie is global head of ESG insight for ESG Clarity and has been an investment journalist for 16 years. She won Editor of the Year at the Aviva Investors Sustainability Media Awards 2021, and was Winner...