Making the oceans free from plastic
Challenging conventional packaging is one way to work for a sustainable future. Supporting innovative science on climate change is another. That’s why BillerudKorsnäs is a proud sponsor of the research schooner Tara that studies the impact of plastic in our oceans.
In June 2019 the research schooner Tara made a Swedish port call in Visby and Almedalen where Swedish power players and stakeholders meet every year for an intense political conference week. This year’s event had a clear focus on sustainability and attracted more than 40 000 visitors.
Interesting business opportunities
While on site, BillerudKorsnäs took the opportunity to arrange well-attended seminars and meetings on board the schooner Tara, to stress the importance of making the oceans free from plastic. Tetra Pak was also present in Almedalen, and between their own meetings and seminars, Eric Lindroth, Sustainability Director Tetra Pak Cluster ECA, Gustav Askman, Business Specialist in recycling value chain and Josefin Egervall, Marketing Manager Tetra Pak Nordics, took the opportunity to meet the crew on board Tara.
“When we meet with customers and other key stakeholders it is clear that sustainability is at the very top of the agenda”, says Eric Lindroth. “This creates new challenges for us but also very interesting business opportunities. Focusing on a low carbon circular economy means that we need to take a full life cycle view on our products in order to become more competitive.”
The non-profit Tara Ocean Foundation organises voyages to study and understand the impact of climate change and the ecological crisis facing the world's oceans. The schooner is a veritable floating laboratory.
“It was great to welcome the Tetra Pak team on board Tara and to see the interest shown for the research”, says Håkan Pettersson, Business Director for Team Tetra Pak at BillerudKorsnäs. “Since our vision is that ‘We challenge conventional packaging for a sustainable future’, it is also natural for us to support the important science Tara is performing on plastics in our oceans. It is valuable research that we have sponsored for several years.”
Microplastics are omnipresent
Since 2010 and during several expeditions Tara has collected microplastics in her net across the globe. The evidence is clear – microplastics are omnipresent. A vast majority of the plastics that end up in our oceans originates from land. Rain running on roads and gutters and water floating in streams and rivers, all transport plastic into our seas. At present Tara and her partners work on identifying the sources, predict their outcome, and assess the impact of plastics from the land to the sea.
On May 27, the research schooner Tara left its home base in Lorient, France, for a six-month expedition to collect samplings at the mouth of ten major rivers in Europe, with start in the Thames in UK and finish in the Tiber in Italy.
Aboard Tara, 40 scientists are relaying each other to assess the concentration of plastic waste carried by rivers and its impact on marine environments and wildlife. The June visit in Visby on the Swedish island Gotland was one of 18 scheduled stops on route to create awareness of the state of our oceans.
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