HONG KONG, NOVEMBER 14, 2018 – Each year 9 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the ocean, and Asia is responsible for more plastic waste leakage than the rest of the world combined. Some estimates suggest this plastic could remain in marine environments for 450 years or longer, and the problem is only getting worse. Addressing a challenge of this magnitude requires an unprecedented approach – leading National Geographic to launch a global commitment to tackle this pressing problem.
Planet or Plastic? is a multiyear initiative from National Geographic, aimed at raising awareness of this challenge and reducing the amount of single-use plastic that enters in the world’s oceans. Doing so will not only benefit the thousands to potentially millions of marine animals that become entangled in, suffocated by, or ingest plastic each year, but will also contribute to the overall health of the planet’s marine ecosystems and all who rely upon them.
National Geographic is now asking people in Asia to take the Planet or Plastic? pledge – a commitment to reduce their use of single-use plastic. By taking the pledge, individuals will become part of a global community working together to stem the tide of single-use plastic polluting the ocean and will continue to receive information and tips to help them in their efforts. The pledge is particularly important in Asia, where just five countries are the source of 55-60% of the plastic that ends up in the world’s oceans, according to Ocean Conservancy.
With a rich history of scientific discovery and exploration, National Geographic is uniquely positioned to tackle this crisis in a way that only National Geographic can – through storytelling and science. The Planet or Plastic? initiative will leverage the power of National Geographic’s media portfolio and the expertise of National Geographic’s explorers and scientists who are witnessing firsthand the devastating impacts of this crisis. This organization-wide effort – being executed across multiple platforms in the months and years to come – will include a major research and scientific initiative; consumer education and engagement; updated internal corporate sustainability commitments; and innovative partnerships with like-minded corporations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all over the world.
Further actions in Asia and worldwide include:
- SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND DOCUMENTATION: The nonprofit National Geographic Society will embark on a journey to better document how plastic travels from source to sea and to fill critical knowledge gaps. Starting with an initial expedition in 2019 to study the type and flow of plastic in a river system, National Geographic will provide science-based, actionable information to help local and national governments, NGOs, businesses and the public more effectively invest in and implement innovative solutions. The Society is also sourcing solutions to the challenge of plastic waste through an existing Reducing Marine Plastic Pollution Request for Proposal (RFP).
- GLOBAL COLLABORATIONS: Sky Media and National Geographic are joining forces in the fight to eradicate the destructive impact of plastic litter in the world’s oceans. National Geographic has committed US$10 million to support the activities of Sky Ocean Ventures, which seeks out investment opportunities in businesses that can help solve the ocean plastic crisis. Bringing to bear National Geographic’s scientific expertise, grants and media reach, the collaboration will identify and champion projects and groundbreaking technologies designed to reduce plastic waste and its impact on oceans. The collaboration represents the largest global media campaign to date to reduce plastic litter in the ocean.
- CORPORATE PARTNERSHIPS: National Geographic will seek out and partner with a number of like-minded corporations and organizations that are committed to raising awareness about the enormity of the ocean plastic issue as well as to finding solutions; including The North Face, to introduce a limited-edition collection made from recycled plastic bottles diverted from National Park waste streams; and an assortment of co-branded bottles with S’well.
- INTERNAL COMMITMENT: Finally, National Geographic will be taking steps to reduce its own reliance on single-use plastics. Magazine subscribe to the India, US and UK editions of National Geographic magazine will receive their issues wrapped in paper instead of plastic. This change will save more than 2.5 million single-use plastic bags every month. By the end of 2019, all global editions will be wrapped in paper instead of plastic.
“For 130 years, National Geographic has documented the stories of our planet, providing audiences around the world with a window into the earth’s breathtaking beauty as well as to the threats it faces,” said Gary E. Knell, Chairman of National Geographic Partners. “Each and every day, our explorers, researchers and photographers in the field witness firsthand the devastating impact of single-use plastic on our oceans, and the situation is becoming increasingly dire. Through the Planet or Plastic? initiative, we will share the stories of this growing crisis, work to address it through the latest science and research, and educate audiences around the world about how to eliminate single-use plastics and prevent them from making their way into our oceans.”
Zubin Gandevia, President, FOX Networks Group Asia Pacific and Middle East, said, “It’s time for Asia to take a leading role in the global fight against plastic pollution. From new investments in groundbreaking science projects, to entertainment that informs awareness and inspires action, to the plastic reduction pledge which we expect to prevent 1 billion single use items from reaching the ocean – the Planet or Plastic? initiative is paving the way to a brighter future for Asia and people around the world. We are thrilled to stand hand-in-hand with National Geographic in tackling this pressing problem and helping to build a better tomorrow for the planet.”
To get involved, visit www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/plasticpledge/ to take your pledge to choose the planet.
About National Geographic Partners LLC
National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between National Geographic and 21st Century Fox, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 130 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education.
About the National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society is a leading nonprofit that invests in bold people and transformative ideas in the fields of exploration, scientific research, storytelling and education. The Society aspires to create a community of change, advancing key insights about the planet and probing some of the most pressing scientific questions of our time, all while ensuring that the next generation is armed with geographic knowledge and global understanding. Its goal is measurable impact: furthering exploration and educating people around the world to inspire solutions for the greater good. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.org.