Major new initiative announced to tackle ocean’s plastic pollution

Sky and National Geographic announce a joint fighting fund to tackle plastic pollution in our oceans.

By Kieren Puffett
Published 16 Apr 2018, 13:06 BST

Sky and National Geographic have announced a joint initiative to help eradicate the destructive impact of plastic litter in the world’s oceans.

National Geographic will commit £7 million to bring its scientific expertise, grants and media reach to support the activities of Sky Ocean Ventures, which was launched in March 2018 with a £25 million commitment from Sky with the objective of seeking out investment opportunities in businesses that can help solve the ocean plastic crisis.

The National Geographic Society joins the effort and will bring together its global network of scientists and academics to support the fund’s vision, along with a financial commitment focused on activity that aligns with its mission, values and objectives. 

Three-Pronged Approach

Protecting our oceans from plastic pollution is the aim of a new initiative setup by Sky Ocean Ventures and National Geographic.

To help realise this new initiative activities will include:

Grants: Targeted funding will be made available for proposals that will measurably reduce plastic pollution before it reaches the ocean. Priority will be given to projects that aim to develop solutions to help stop plastic from reaching waterways through improved recycling, waste management or other means as well as innovative methods that engage stakeholders to create solutions that dramatically reduce plastic use and/or input into watersheds.

Innovation Challenges: A series of Innovation Challenges issued to the best talents and minds around the globe will identify, award and support groundbreaking technologies designed to reduce plastic waste and its impact on oceans. Challenges will address the myriad inefficiencies in the plastics value chain from material innovation and product design to consumer use and collection.

Events: A series of events will convene and engage industry leaders, corporations, institutions and foundations focused on the issue of marine plastic pollution.

Utilising Expertise

With its expertise in research and grants management, together with its historical perspective and legacy in conservation, the National Geographic Society is uniquely positioned to serve the objectives of this campaign.

Speaking on the collaboration, Sky’s Group Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch said: “National Geographic is a world leader in science and exploration with expertise, knowledge and credibility that only comes from spending over a century protecting our planet. I’m excited that we share the same vision and understand the pressing need to take action and find meaningful solutions to the plastics problem. Together, we will create real impact, and I look forward to bringing other financial and non-financial partners on board.”

Also commenting on the new venture, Gary Knell, CEO of National Geographic Partners, added: “Sky Ocean Ventures is a bold new project that will support breakthrough thinking and invest in new ideas aimed at the impact plastic is having on our oceans and marine life. National Geographic will use our global media portfolio to encourage conservation of our oceans and exploration of new ways to be better stewards of the world in which we live.”

Chief Scientist and SVP, Grants and Exploration at the National Geographic Society, Jonathan Baillie, concluded: “This is a unique opportunity to build upon National Geographic Society’s 130-year history of investing in bold people with transformative ideas and using the power of our storytellers to help achieve a planet in balance. By 2025, Sky and National Geographic will have helped to bring pledges of people taking action to reduce their own plastic footprint, helped transform the way businesses deal with their supply chain and innovation as far as plastic is concerned and will have invested in or supported technologies with high potential to be transformational.”

Applicants should visit for more information and to begin the application process, while further information about the challenges and details of how to submit proposals will be made available on the National Geographic Society site.


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