Sky Ocean Ventures has teamed up with the Government to invest
in ten UK companies that have identified innovative solutions to solving the
ocean plastics crisis. The ideas range from biodegradable water bottles and packaging
made from seaweed, right through to an ingenious way of reducing the plastic
microfibre waste that comes from the clothes we wear – by developing clothes
that grow with children.
Launched in March 2018, Sky Ocean Ventures is a £25m impact investment fund committed to accelerating young companies and entrepreneurs who are developing ideas that can help turn off the plastics tap. It’s part of Sky’s Bigger Picture initiative and is the solutions arm of the Sky Ocean Rescue campaign, which shines a spotlight on the issues that affect ocean health and inspires behaviour change.
This year, Sky Ocean Ventures and Innovate UK – which is the Government’s innovation agency - announced a £6m joint funding commitment in the global battle against plastic pollution. These 10 UK companies are the first to be funded under the commitment.
Jeremy Darroch, Group Chief Executive, Sky, said: “At Sky we
recognise that we have a responsibility beyond our business. That’s why we’re supporting
these ten innovators through Sky Ocean Ventures, the impact investment fund we
setup as part of our commitment to help create a better and plastic-free future
for our oceans. By investing in innovative new products and materials we will
help turn off the plastics tap.”
recipients of the funding all have a pioneering idea in either material
innovation, circular economy or responsible consumption.
Business Secretary, Andrea Leadsom,
said: “Trailblazing UK businesses are giving us all
the choice to buy more sustainable clothing, packaging and cosmetics that are
better for our environment.
"Consumers have shown they are keen for green and
we’re committed to championing those innovative companies that lead the way in
this, protecting the planet while at the same time opening up huge
opportunities for the UK economy.”
The first investment was awarded to Naturbeads, a company working to manufacture a replacement to the ocean-polluting microbeads that, despite initial bans in “rinse-off”cosmetics, are found in many personal and home care products and paints.
The other nine companies to receive funding are*:
- Bagboard, London
Blue Green Vision, Northumberland
- Choose Water, Edinburgh
- DAME, London
- Flexi-Hex, Cornwall
- HD Wool, West Yorkshire
- Oceanium, Oban, Scotland
- Petit Pli, London
- And one biotech that is not
disclosing its work until the publication of its scientific discovery later this
details on the ten investments
Naturbeads: Naturbeads manufacture a biodegradable alternative
to plastic microbeads that could reduce micro plastic pollution in the oceans. The
technology to create the cellulose microbeads was developed at the University
of Bath by Professors Janet Scott and Davide Mattia from the Centre for
Sustainable Chemical Technologies in 2017. Professors Scott and Mattia launched
Naturbeads in 2018 to commercialise the technology together with Dr Giovanna
Laudisio, CEO of the company.
An estimated 30,000 tonnes of microplastics from consumer products
end up in our world’s oceans every year. This is equivalent to three times the
Great Pacific Garbage Patch, or the plastic pollution generated by 5 billion
plastic bottles. These ocean-polluting microbeads were recently banned by the
Government from rinse-off products but are still found in many other personal
and home care products and paints. Some of these microplastics are eaten by
marine life, passing up the food chain and ending up on our own plates.
Pli: London. Instagram/Facebook:
@petit.pli Twitter: @PetitPli
Petit Pli is a
material innovation and Fash-Tech start-up engineering clothes that grow with
Children grow seven sizes in their first two years which equates to a lot of
waste clothing. Graduate
Aeronautical Engineer Ryan Mario Yasin founded the company in 2017 with the
vision of designing innovative and sustainable garments for children. The
designs are made from recycled plastic bottles and draw inspiration from
deployable nano-structure satellites and his new-born nephew Viggo.
Wool: Yorkshire. Twitter: @HD_Wool
Established in 1888 H. Dawson have supplied wool around
the world for 130 years. They’re now developing HD Wool, an advanced wool to be
used as a replacement to synthetic polyester insulation that shed microfibres
which pollute our oceans and rivers, an issue highlighted by the HRH The Prince
of Wales’ Campaign for Wool.
Flexi-Hex London. Twitter: @FlexiHex
Founders Sam and Will Boex recognised the impact that
single use plastic was having on their local and the world’s marine
environment. Their passion for surfing and their personal experience of
transporting boards around the globe inspired them to create a sustainable
packaging sleeve for the board sports industry. They’re now expanding the 100%
recyclable product into other industries to reduce our dependence on bubble
Scotland. Twitter: @KScofieldSeal
Karen Scofield Seal and Dr Charlie Bavington founded
the social-impact, bio-tech business in 2018 with the mission to
develop innovative seaweed-based products including marine-safe
biopackaging. Based at the European Marine Science Park in Oban, Oceanium
is using innovative biorefinery methods in order to meet demand
for sustainable packaging and food products whilst enabling the
sustainable growth of the seaweed cultivation industry in the
Water: Edinburgh. Instagram: @choosewater
Choose Water was founded by James
Longcroft after visiting The Gambia and being hit by an awareness of our own
wastefulness. The plastic-free, biodegradable water bottle is made entirely
from sustainable materials which will degrade within a year, with proceeds
being donated to Water for Africa. Choose Water received an initial investment
from Sky Ocean Ventures in July 2018.
Bagboard is a new advertising platform that is on the
planet’s side. They combine digital and out of home advertising whilst offering
a solution to single-use plastic bags. The business turns reusable paper bags
into advertising space, distributing them for free across a network of 2,000
independent retailers in London. Their app incentivises consumers to engage
digitally in return for personal and social rewards, bringing brands and
consumers together to drive sustainability. The platform launches this autumn.
Pool and Alec Mills ran a period subscription service, delivering to thousands
of women around the UK. It was here they saw first-hand the plastic and
chemicals that go into tampons.
Believing women and planet deserve better they launched
their own sustainable tampon brand DAME, and with it the world’s first reusable
Blue Green Vision: Northumberland
Blue Green Vision provide
spectrometers, illumination systems that can
vastly improve recycling of plastics by sorting by type accurately. This easily adoptable technology that can
revolutionise our recycling value chain.
An additional biotech company
This company is not
disclosing its work until the publication of its scientific discovery - planned
for later this year.
more information please contact:
With 24 million customers across seven countries, Sky is
Europe’s leading media and entertainment company and is proud to be part of the
Comcast group. That’s why we believe that a company of our scale has a
responsibility that goes beyond our business, and into the community.
Our Bigger Picture strategy looks at the issues that are
most material to us, and talk to our people, customers and partners. That means
being responsible in how we go about our business, acting on issues that
matter, inspiring young people to be their best and inspiring others to take
We believe we can use our voice to effect real change on
the critical issue of ocean health. That’s why we launched Sky Ocean Rescue in
2017. The campaign has reached millions across Europe, we’re on track to be
free of single-use plastic by 2020 and we’re investing £25million over five
years in ocean-saving tech with our impact investment fund, Sky Ocean Ventures.