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Systemic Approach to Ocean Plastics Pollution

Winter 2022 • Global

The Howell Conservation Fund is addressing the daunting challenge of ocean plastics pollution by supporting a diverse group of non-profit efforts that work on different dimensions of the problem simultaneously.

Founded in 2019, it employs a venture capital model to drive catalytic change through a scalable process to address root causes by piloting and testing various approaches. They work to address the actual problem of plastics pollution through cleanup efforts on heavily polluted beaches, primarily on Henderson Island in the Pitcairn island chain of the southern Pacific Ocean. They are also working on ways to recycle existing plastics, and to develop alternative materials that might replace plastic.

They are partnering with the Center for Regenerative Design and Collaboration to develop a method of recycling plastic as an elemental ingredient of concrete. They are also working with the Ocean Plastics Leadership Network to identify the best ideas for alternatives to plastic that might appeal to some of the world’s largest consumer packaged goods companies such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo that are part of the network, and that might gain the support of venture capital investors and start-up accelerators.

Their support to the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation will help to mobilize local communities to pressure major polluters and their work with Root Solutions will help them develop ways for communities and businesses to encourage behavioral change around plastics pollution.

Blackstone Ranch Institute provided a challenge grant to help Howell Conservation Fund develop their role as a meta funder that will allot the grant monies to a portfolio of non-profits that they deem most likely to be able to effectively make systems changes. Howell Conservation Fund used the challenge to substantially increase funding from other donors.

Howell Conservation Fund

Howell Conservation Fund supports conservation organizations that are working on scalable, market based solutions to environmental issues. It awards catalytic grants modeled on a venture philanthropy approach, and aims to...

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