Oceans are indispensible for life on Earth: they regulate the Earth’s climates and temperatures. Ocean waterways make up one of the world’s most important means of connecting countries and continents and oceans also contain 99% of the world’s biodiversity. The natural resources with which oceans provide us are a fundamental driver of our economies. Despite all of the crucial services that oceans provide for us, for centuries now, we have been treating oceans as infinite bodies in which we can dump our trash… a fact that is completely disconnected from reality.
While the environmentalists of the 1960s and 1970s, such as Jacques Cousteau, were focused on the problems associated with the dumping of toxic waste (both radioactive materials and oil) in oceans, today’s environmentalists address a somewhat greater and more abstract problem—that of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. It has been estimated that 90% of marine debris consists of plastic—of which 80% comes from land. (For more information on marine debris, please take a look at our previous blog posts: are we eating plastic?; international efforts to confront a global issues; plastic pollution). In simple terms, this statistic means that we, as consumers, are allowing the perpetuation of plastic pollution.
L.O.O.P., as an idea, emerged as a manner of combating this problem. We look to do our small part in contributing to the mitigation of plastic pollution. As such, the driver behind L.O.O.P.’s business model is not solely profit. Instead, L.O.O.P.’s business model looks to protect the environment. As our business model has been refined over the course of these last six months, we have realized that L.O.O.P.’s sphere of influence goes beyond that of the environmental. L.O.O.P. also looks to generate important social benefits.
Consequently, L.O.O.P.’s modus operandi is based on the pillars of the triple bottom line: “people, profit, planet.” The triple bottom line consists of a sustainable business model that not only values growth in terms of profit, but also in terms of the business’ contribution to improving the environment and society, more broadly. In order to exemplify this last point, we have created the following graph, which sums up L.O.O.P.’s business model.
Concretely, L.O.O.P. addresses the problems of plastic pollution and marine debris through the sale of its ecological bags and its campaigns. L.O.O.P. bags, which are made from 100% recycled RPET fiber, not only prevent plastic from entering the waste stream, but also promote sustainable life styles. Re-using L.O.O.P. bags, instead of making use of single-use plastic bags, means reducing one’s ecological footprint. Meanwhile, L.O.O.P.’s beach clean-ups remove a significant amount of marine debris from the ecosystem.
The purpose of L.O.O.P.’s social campaigns is to expose the problems confronting the environment, at a larger scale, in order to increase people’s knowledge of these problems, and, as a result, encourage the general population to protect the environment. Our services also allow those interested to implement solid waste management systems at the micro-level—L.O.O.P. looks to connect the private sector with formalized association of recyclers in order to increase the rates of plastics recycling at the national level.
Within L.O.O.P.’s social goals is the promotion of the ILO’s “decent work agenda.” Both the confectioning of our products and our collection of plastic during our social campaigns and service provision provide income for people from lower socio-economic levels. When working with our confectioner and formalized recycling association, L.O.O.P. seeks to establish working relationships based on respect and equality.
Since oceans are finite resources, and we are dumping all of our garbage into them, one must deduce that soon we will have nowhere to dispose of our trash. L.O.O.P.’s activities are intended to reduce the vulnerability of our society to potential environmental change, bettering our capacity to adapt to this inevitable change.
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