Skip to content

Environmental Philanthropy: Stories to Inspire

Valuing the ocean

The ocean is the blue heart of our global ecosystem, so efforts to conserve it have broad impacts, helping to regulate the climate, feed communities and support livelihoods. With that in mind, we established the Marine CoLABoration (CoLAB) group in 2015 to explore how to communicate the value of the ocean more effectively. We fund nine different organisations with marine-focused programmes to come together regularly, providing them with time, space and resources to build on what works; to share learning; and to develop tools and approaches to catalyse change. Together the group has developed several great ideas that may not otherwise have come about. The initiative has proved to us the enormous value of bringing together a group of organisations with different areas of expertise and different spheres of influence in pursuit of a common goal. 

One of the initiatives to emerge from the group is the #OneLess campaign, which is uniting people (individuals, communities, businesses, NGOs and policymakers) in the fight to reduce the number of single-use plastic water bottles entering the ocean from London. #OneLess developed an idea to install water bottle refill stations; that resulted in the Mayor of London’s commitment in 2018 of £2.5 million in funding to install the first network of more than a hundred modern-day drinking fountains across the city. Those fountains have already dispensed hundreds of thousands of litres of water; #OneLess also removed nearly 30,000 plastic bottles from the Thames in just twelve months. We think the initiative could prompt a sea change in how Londoners access drinking water when they’re out and about. 

It has given us huge pleasure to see #OneLess go from being a CoLAB experiment to a successful campaign; one that has had visible wins and is building a movement to protect our ocean.

* ClientEarth; International Programme for the State of the Ocean; Institute of European Environmental Policy; Fauna & Flora International; Forum for the Future; New Economics Foundation; Marine Conservation Society; Thames Estuary Partnership; and Zoological Society of London.