OCEANR founder Tom Cotter

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Credit all images: OCEANR

Q&A with OCEANR founder Tom Cotter

Founded in 2016 by self-proclaimed water sports obsessive Tom Cotter, OCEANR is an Irish design firm specialising in high-end apparel for luxury resorts and superyachts from around the world, but with a twist. For every purchase of the brand's eco-friendly apparel – made from recycled polyester – OCEANR removes one kilogram of waste from our oceans.

What is your role in helping protect our oceans and marine life?

The goal of our brand is our mission – to reclaim our oceans by removing as much plastic as we can and to be carbon negative doing it! We want to create the most environmentally friendly products on the planet. To date, we have saved more than 1.5 million plastic bottles from entering our environment by using our recycled fabrics.

Our “Kilo for the planet” partnership project with social start-up Enaleia removes 1 kilogram of ocean waste for every garment we sell. Enaleia is a non-profit social enterprise founded in 2016 in Greece, that encourages fishermen in the Mediterranean & Kenya to adopt sustainable fishing techniques and assists in the reduction of ocean plastic by “fishing" for it.

We also actively support coastal communities that are engaged in marine preservation initiatives and educational programs for children and adults. As an example, we support Tenagh Island Conservation in their conservation efforts for critically endangered turtle populations in the Malaysian region.

How did the idea come about?

My life-long passion for water sports brought the sea's plastic problem into deep focus, and in 2016 I began to research what could be done to help alleviate that problem. We are the first generation to suffer the consequences of climate change, and one of few to take active action to stop it. Setting up OCEANR was about changing the status quo of fast fashion and introducing a new way of thinking about what we wear.

What do you think is the single biggest threat facing the ocean today?

I think we are all aware of the statistic that is looming: There will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050! For me, accountability and education are key to tackling the plastic pollution crisis. As individuals and organizations, we need to commit to minimising our impact on the world’s natural resources through small incremental changes that will have a big impact.

What is your conservation motto?

Together with our brand partners; we hope to educate and inspire as many organizations as possible across the globe to improve their sustainability practices for the future health of our oceans. Our greatest impact will not be just what we do. It will be how much we can influence individuals and organizations to take on that sustainable journey and in turn, influence others to do the same.

What gives you hope for the ocean’s future?

Accountability. I think the recent G7 summit announcement regarding the end to plastic pollution in the future was extremely promising! Last year a number of member countries committed to eliminating plastic pollution by 2040.

Last week, the remaining G7 members United States, Japan, Germany, France, UK, Italy and Canada committed to zero plastic pollution by 2040. This gives me hope, seeing some of the most powerful countries in the world take accountability and come together to rid our oceans of plastic.

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