4Ocean – are they a good company for the oceans?
“Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage.”– Jacques Cousteau.
Try envisioning yourself getting so cozy and giddy as you hop into the vessel that would take you to see the wonders of the Caribbean Sea. Imagine the supposed fresh breeze and cool turquoise waters welcoming you with its beauty. What a sight to see, right? But how can we wish so badly to witness such a picturesque view if we can’t even be responsible enough to keep our trash either to ourselves or proper trash bins?
Jacques Cousteau is right. Humans badly want to experience the serenity and beauty of nature. We badly cry out for its abundance because all life depends on it, but we cannot even take a single step into keeping it from becoming global garbage.
According to Conservation International, about 8 million metric tons are being dumped into the sea every year. That is a bountiful amount of plastics and waste. In fact, there is so much junk in the sea that its population gets even bigger than marine life. “By 2050, ocean plastic will outweigh all of the ocean’s fish.” Imagine not being able to catch a fish on Thanksgiving Day, but you caught a plastic bottle instead! Horrible!
Garbage patches are also a known issue because the debris floating on the ocean and other bodies of water either end up washing towards bigger seas or silently forms giant garbage patches!! In fact, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch includes an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of trash and covers an area twice the size of Texas. Those are not even dumpsites, for goodness sake!
As we all know, plastics pose a significant danger to the ocean. It does not just pollute oceans and kill the marine life below by simply having the ocean dirty and toxic, but small, big, or larger species might take in these plastics and kill them eventually after swallowing them. Besides, these plastics pose a double danger. Given its ‘lifespan’ of more than our lives, with the sun exposure and wave action, as the abovementioned, it will become a part of the food chain. Moreover, when it finally degrades, it releases chemicals that will further contaminate the sea and eventually human’s water source if worse can come to worse.
Proceeding, despite the gloomy facts and desolating information about ocean pollution and its effects on marine life and land life, thankfully, some groups and organizations are trying their hardest to do cleanups and other campaigns to protect the ocean and marine life. A widely known company called 4Ocean is operating seven days a week!! Fascinating!
But before you shop in 4Ocean, let’s dig deeper in this recycled plastic goods store that aims to eradicate ocean pollution.
What is 4Ocean?
4Ocean is a benefits company established in Raton, Florida. It aims to completely eradicate water pollution and educate the people about the disadvantages of single-use plastics as it contributes to the ocean plastic crisis. Moreover, each plastic and other solid waste material that they recover from their ocean and coastal cleanups are recycled into different products in which they sell. The profit that they will acquire from their sold products will fund their global ocean cleanup.
A unique trait about this company is they actually hire captains and crews to help them with their cleanups seven days a week. Hence, they are also a few companies that can trace every pound’s origins recovery from the oceans, rivers, and coastlines. This company’s consistency is incredible and unforeseen for the reason that they continuously do coastal cleanups seven days a week.
Are they legit?
With a bountiful amount of non-profit organizations aiming to solve environmental problems globally, it cannot be helped for critics to arise and begin questioning the legitimacy and pure intentions of these environmental groups, especially if transparency is not seen in the organization. It is quite normal, though, because fraud organizations are all over the place, scamming you. Not surprising, though, because as the world crisis increases, many people are struggling financially. However, some are sick fools who enjoy fooling around.
With that said, 4Ocean is not an exception from suspicions that questions their credibility. According to Alicia Green, 4Ocean is misleading millions of people. Although 4Ocean stated that they did not claim that they are a charity, some of its customers commented about their “donation.” And slyly tries to appear like a charity, but they are not as what they would say.
4Ocean explained why they did not go the path of non-profit organization because they believe that producing products and selling them would allow them to exist in the long run. Given that their solution for the ocean crisis is made through selling, and based on their claims that the profits will go towards their cleanups, they are to invest their revenues in their cleanup missions. Thus transparency must be presented on where the money goes. Tiger of A Fashion Blog says, “Without transparency and accountability, everyone is bound to have doubts.” This is why it had people questioning if 4Ocean’s bracelets do really contribute towards cleaning one pound of waste from the seas.
Does the money really go to their coastal cleanups? For a company like 4Ocean, they must have been using resources that fasten their cleanups. But we do not know this for sure. An absence of information will stir questions about one’s credibility. Of course, their statements about every purchase of their bracelets would automatically help in their cleanups would stir questions if you begin pondering if one bracelet can really clean a pound of sea waste.
Cleanups for profit?
Despite how charitable 4Ocean’s activities and disposition in front of the public’s eyes, they have been clear with their introduction about their company. They are a benefit/for-profit company. They do cleanups and extract recyclable materials and turn them into bracelets and sell them out in the open. “…it’s none of our business whether they spend 20% of the profit on the project, or 90%. It entirely depends on them.” (Brhlik, 2020). True enough. Hence, more people buy their bracelets not solely because of the bracelets but to purchase them.
Furthermore, the company seems to be an expert in modern marketing as they gained millions of followers. According to Eszter Brhlik, 4Oceans donate to non-profit organizations and research projects connected to ocean crisis solutions. Also, because of this, they have cleanup drives in Indonesia, Guatemala, Haiti, and the US, which means that they have provided jobs for many people in different parts of the world. This is why profit companies are not a bad thing, especially if their purpose helps the majority.
Their cleanups may result in profit, but what the company gains does not only stay within theirs, not that it should be a big deal since they have all the rights, but it helps both the ocean and the people – having regular ocean cleanups.
It is okay to feel unsure about buying a particular product. In fact, that is a good reflection as you always need to consider the product’s advantages and disadvantages. Quite a sustainable mind you got there.
Here are some pros and cons with the controversial profit company, 4Oceans, which you hear almost anywhere as its ads seem to appear almost everywhere!
- 4Ocean products are made from a 90% variety of recycled materials used to float on the oceans.
- Local artisans handcraft 4Ocean’s bracelets, which provide work for the people.
- 4Ocean donates some of its profits to non-profit organizations and research projects concerning ocean pollution.
- 4Oceans do cleanups seven days a week.
- Most people complain about the prices of their products.
- Lack of transparency of their financials
Should you buy from 4Ocean?
4Ocean is a somewhat good company with some prominent ESG certifications under its belt (i.e. B Corp, 1% For The Planet, GOTS). But it’s a bit iffy when they don’t disclose their financials, especially as most buyers shop from them as a donation for the ocean movement.
Sure, they provide jobs for people in countries that adapted to the company’s goal. In fact, women handcraft the bracelets and even other products. Plus, their products are made of a wide variety of waste materials that were recycled. But it seems that there is a lot more they are hiding than showing to the public.
Yes, you can buy from 4Ocean but it’s better to look at your local community for grassroots movements where you can see their transparency. You will also help reduce carbon emissions by not shopping from another country that will ship your order via air freight – one of the worst shipping options in terms of emissions.
How to help fight ocean pollution
There are countless ways on how to help fight ocean pollution. The number 1 key to that is to begin within yourselves. It may sound cliché, but it is a fact that we must not ignore. We’ll never how our self-discipline can influence other people. Clean up after yourself, and make sure that you pick up trash wherever you go, take care of natural resources. Especially do not hurt animals.
Next, join non-profit organizations by volunteering. Whether by simply handing out posters or sharing posts on social media about ocean crisis awareness and practicing what you learned can already make a difference.
Then donate! Give back to the environment by supporting organizations with environmental advocacies. Think Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, and other charities that seek to preserve environmental dignity and protect wildlife.
Lastly, push for climate action by writing your legislators and signing petitions to strengthen environmental protections. Push for single-use plastic bans and more stringent measures to keep the oceans clean and healthy for all generations.
Take the challenge and make a change. As the popular saying goes, “Agua as vida”. We need to work together to save our oceans because we need them to survive.