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Creating innovative solutions and collaborations to improve the health of the ocean.
LocationChina - Hong Kong SAR
Ocean Recovery Alliance is an NGO focused on creating innovative solutions and collaborations to improve the health of the ocean. Its network of organizations, entrepreneurs and innovators, particularly related to plastic sustainability and circularity, but also dedicated to broad ocean governance and new thought leadership, and helps to create engaged and active dialogue where gaps often occur due to between entities that often do not have a history of working with one another. The group creates purposefully designed activities to educate, build awareness and provide solutions which inspire positive societal change at the community, national and international levels.
The founder of Ocean Recovery Alliance, Douglas Woodring, was awarded the prestigious 2018 Prince Albert Prize for Innovative Philanthropy for his work with the ocean (the 2019 prize was awarded to Mr. Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever for his sustainability work). Two of the group’s international programs were launched at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2010, the Global Alert platform, and the Plastic Disclosure Project. Mr. Woodring is a United Nations Environment (UNEP) Climate Hero for his efforts, as well as a Google Earth Hero. Mr. Woodring has been on the advisory board of the XPrize, and The Economist’s World Oceans Summit, and in 2011, he co-authored the United Nations Environmental Program Yearbook chapter on the danger of plastic in the ocean.
The group is one of the first NGOs in the world have worked with both UNEP and the World Bank on plastic pollution and ocean issues, and is the founder of the Plasticity Forum, first launched at the Rio+20 Earth Summit, and has since been held in 13 cities around the world, with the 2019 event co-hosted with UNEP in Bangkok at their Sea of Solutions Conference. The conference is one of the few that solely focuses on the future of plastic, and where the leaders are going with solutions, innovations, and opportunities, for a world with a reduced waste footprint. A video of the virtual event, held this past November, with UNEP and Vietnam, can be seen here.
Ocean Recovery Alliance works with companies, governments, multi-lateral institutions, universities and with education programs. Its recent UNEP-funded report which scored 580 global commitments on plastic pollution has now been turned into a new organization called the Commitments Accelerator for Plastic Pollution (CAPP), which now has three flagship nations as its partner – Fiji, Curacao and Seychelles. This is an ongoing program, which now includes work with India, and is intended for a wide variety of stakeholder involvement across countries, companies, and community organizations.
The group also created the Water Falling and Water Rising Festivals in Cambodia, which take place twice a year with the rise/fall of the waters in the Tonle Sap Lake. The program started with focused work in three lakeside villages, and now has strong local and national government support, recently expanding to 30 villages, with a new program for the community to sort and collect plastic from their surroundings, without dumping or burning it. It will continue to expand this program, which will include new solutions for the use of mixed dirty plastic in concrete construction material, as well as continued river cleanup via the use of the Global Alert app, managed by local villagers and fishermen.
Currently, among some of its projects, Ocean Recovery Alliance is working the UNEP in Malaysia and Thailand, as part of the Swedish-funded Sea Circular program, to train 10 companies and two municipalities in each country about using the group’s Plastic Disclosure Project (PDP) footprinting methodology. This work is ongoing, and will be replicated in Ladakh, India, with the help of Anant University, and a local partner, where three cities will undergo the same footprinting analysis. This type of work will be replicated where possible, including a program along the coastline of Kenya, with a local partner which will start early 2021, modeled roughly after the Cambodian type of program it has initiated.
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