Sea2See Cleaning our Oceans

Sea2see

12. Responsible Consumption and Production 14. Life Below Water

Overview

Sea2See aims to promote global consciousness regarding plastic waste in the ocean through the collection of that waste, it's recycling, and transformation into eyewear.

Author

Juan Naz Gufeng Mena Seferian Pan

Juan Naz Gufeng Mena Seferian Pan

School

EGADE Business School Tecnologico de Monterrey

EGADE Business School Tecnologico de Monterrey

Professors

Ezequiel Reficco

Ezequiel Reficco

Francisco Layrisse

Francisco Layrisse

Innovation

Sea2See mobilizes communities of fishermen to collect plastic waste from the ocean, which is then recycled into consumer products such as eyewear and sold for a profit. This is done through the following six steps: Step 1 - 117 containers have been placed in 30 Spanish ports and 6 French ports where fisherman deposit plastic waste, abandoned nets, fishing lines, ropes, and other waste. Step 2 - Trucks collect on average 0.75-1 ton of waste per day, which is then transferred to a waste selection plant in Girona, Spain. Step 3 - The different types of plastic waste are manually selected, recycled and then reused as raw material. Step 4 - The recycled raw material (certified at the gold level by Cradle to Cradle) is sent to Italy, where all the Sea2See glasses are manufactured. Step 5 - The eyewear is produced in Italy and then mostly sold through distributors, with around 1% of the product sold directly to consumers online. Step 6 - Customers purchase the glasses and learn about the problem of ocean pollution as they make their purchase decision.

Sea2See Cleaning our Oceans

Inspiration

The inspiration for this innovation and its link to the business idea comes from two sources. The first is that the plastic waste that accumulates in the oceans often consists of very durable material. A considerable part of the waste comes from fishing nets, which have been designed to be strong and tough material. This is particularly harmful to the environment because these plastic items take centuries to degrade. However, the durability of this material also means that it can be used to build items of good quality that will last for a long time, like frames for eyeglasses. The second inspiration connecting plastic collection to eyewear is that fashion is the industry linked to the second highest levels of pollution. At the same time, fashion is a very “egocentric” industry, because consumers are motivated by their own sense of self-projection. Sea2See has therefore discovered an opportunity to focus on eyewear as a means to raise awareness about plastic waste in the ocean. Customers who buy Sea2See products can “show off” about how environmentally aware and action-oriented they are, while also purchasing quality items and helping to clean the ocean.

Overall impact

Environmental Impact - Sea2See currently collects 0.75-1 ton of waste per day from the Spanish and French ports where it is operating. There are plans to expand the business to African territories such as Senegal and Zanzibar as well. While this barely scratches the surface as far as the actual amount of waste in the ocean is concerned, it nevertheless has a trickle-down effect because it also raises awareness about pollution among the fishermen (who sometimes contribute directly to this waste, unaware of its negative impact) and consumers (who contribute indirectly). In 2018, the company collected around 200 tons of waste from the ocean.

Social Impact - Sea2See engages directly with communities of fishermen and then works with them to collect plastic waste from the ocean. The fishermen are compensated for the work that they do in collecting this material, and this process has a considerable impact on their lives. During our interview with him, the founder of Sea2See said that they had not yet found a good way to measure this aspect of their impact, but that thousands of fishermen were now engaged with Sea2See.

Business benefit

The company has been growing at a considerable rate. Turnover was 65,000 EUR in 2017 when it started operations, then grew to 470,000 EUR in 2018 and around 1 million EUR by mid-2019.

Social and environmental benefit

Environmental Impact - Sea2See currently collects 0.75-1 ton of waste per day from the Spanish and French ports where it is operating. There are plans to expand the business to African territories such as Senegal and Zanzibar as well. While this barely scratches the surface as far as the actual amount of waste in the ocean is concerned, it nevertheless has a trickle-down effect because it also raises awareness about pollution among the fishermen (who sometimes contribute directly to this waste, unaware of its negative impact) and consumers (who contribute indirectly). In 2018, the company collected around 200 tons of waste from the ocean.

Social Impact - Sea2See engages directly with communities of fishermen and then works with them to collect plastic waste from the ocean. The fishermen are compensated for the work that they do in collecting this material, and this process has a considerable impact on their lives. During our interview with him, the founder of Sea2See said that they had not yet found a good way to measure this aspect of their impact, but that thousands of fishermen were now engaged with Sea2See.

Interview

François van den Abeele, Founder & CEO

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Sea2see

Sea2see

Barcelona, Catlunya, ES

Business Website: www.sea2see.org

Year Founded: 2015

Number of Employees: 51 to 200

Sea2See aims to promote global consciousness regarding plastic waste in the ocean through the collection of that waste, its recycling, and transformation into eyewear.