From beach to boardroom

With increasing producer responsibility, less plastic is going astray. Ope, IVAR and Vestre have jointly established the project From beach to boardroom as a tangible measure on the part of the business community to address the challenges associated with plastic in nature.

Lars Urheim (OPE) and Jan Christian Vestre (CEO Vestre)

The business community has earned good money throughout all these many years on having unlimited access to resources on a planet with limited resources. The results of this can be seen today with the looming global environmental catastrophe. “We want to show the way for the business community in future, where it is untenable to simply continue as before. The actors engaged in commerce today must take responsibility where our predecessors have made errors, and find ways to create value by rehabilitating the harm inflicted on nature,” says Lars Urheim, General Manager of Ope.

From beach to boardroom is a project with the objective of taking plastic that has gone astray out of nature and putting it into Norwegian design objects that can be utilised in commercial buildings and public spaces. A value chain will be established that places the collected plastic back into a usage cycle and ensures it is kept there.

Through a preliminary project in 2018, SINTEF verified for the parties that the plastic is functionally capable for use in future projects. The team also includes the blockchain company Empower, which has developed a system for documenting the origin of plastic. In this way, precision and trust are attained in where the plastic was collected from, which safeguards the project’s purpose and ensures that it is ownerless plastic that is being included in the new value chain. The plastic will subsequently be tagged with the history of precisely where and by whom it was collected, so that it will be possible to follow it all the way from the beach to, for example, the board room of the company that purchases it. By purchasing this raw material, a direct contribution is made to the needed global clean-up, while at the same time making it possible to have design products – such as Ope’s unique shelving solutions. In this way, the From beach to boardroom project will create value out of what today is a global problem.

“We are already co-operating with actors throughout the entire business chain, but continue to have plenty of room for companies that wish to shoulder their share of the responsibility by choosing to design products of sea plastic for their buildings and properties. Large companies such as Google and Adidas have all decided to only purchase products of recycled material in the immediate future, and we desire to recruit Norwegian actors with the same level of ambition to the team. The more responsibility taken, the less plastic that goes astray. A winning situation for everyone”, says Urheim.

The Norwegian Retailer’s Environment Fund has great faith in the project, and is supporting it with NOK 2 million in order to contribute to it being able to be implemented at full scale. The goal is to be able to realise From beach to boardroom during the course of the next year.