Published 1 year ago.
About a 7 minute read.
Image: Afroz Shah
/ This article is sponsored by
The overall puzzle of ocean restoration is complex; but to Dow, it is clear that organized cleanups are one of the most important pieces — because they can create a spark that will ignite the type of passion it takes to drive change.
Many sustainability-interested individuals know about the benefits of beach
cleanups when it comes to intercepting waste before it reaches waterways, but
have you considered what happens after the trash is collected and the volunteers
head home for the day? The initial impact starts a ripple effect that makes big
waves in the fight for cleaner waterways.
A study published in
SAGE showed that beach
cleanups are associated with positive moods, pro-environmental intentions and
higher marine awareness following organized events. It’s no wonder that,
according to the Keep America Beautiful 2020 Litter
roadside litter has decreased in the US throughout the past decade as
sustainability education and initiatives gain momentum. The more people who get
involved and inspired, the more supporters can influence sustainable behavior at
Indeed, the problem is daunting. With 8 million
tons of plastic
in the ocean and even more winding up on beaches every day, it’s easy to feel
overwhelmed and disheartened. However, as we reflect on recent events such as
World Ocean Day, the UN Ocean
Summit and all related efforts to
combat environmental harm, it’s important to remember that when people act for
change together, they can and do make a difference. That’s why Dow continues to
rally employees and communities around the shared goal of protecting our ocean
and environment at large.
Employers are in an excellent position to bring people together for change.
Survey results from the 2022 Edelman Trust
Barometer show that people
believe businesses can be “competent and effective drivers of positive change.”
By making their purpose clear and rallying their teams, companies can build
brigades of employee volunteers to work toward causes that matter. Not only can
this expand the impact of sustainability efforts, it can also give companies
significant competitive advantages.
One study by
tracked companies’ value growth over 12 years and saw that those the public
perceived as “highly impactful” more than doubled the brand value growth of
those with a low positive impact. And, like consumers, employees are growing
more and more purpose driven: Deloitte’s 2021 Millennial and Gen Z
showed that workers today seek high impact, along with culture and diversity,
over financial benefits.
Dow believes in the value of volunteerism and providing sustainability-based
education around responsible waste management to employees, communities,
customers and key stakeholders. The
campaign, now in its fifth year, is an example of our initiatives to promote
collaboration and education for environmental change. We started the campaign in
2018 to engage people in beach and waterway cleanups across the globe while
providing information about responsible waste management and promoting a
circular economy for
— and keep waste out of our oceans, rivers and streams.
The more people who understand the problem and feel driven to address it, the
more momentum and influence environmentalists will have to encourage companies
and individuals to innovate around larger-scale cleanup efforts. That’s why Dow
collaborates across the value chain to engage customers, suppliers and
distributors (including Arcadis, Kelly, Jacobs, Resinex and
more) to promote responsible waste management, protect our ocean and lead toward
the greater good of the environment at large.
In 2021 alone, Dow and all #PullingOurWeight participants achieved the
Hosted 195 community cleanups in 32 countries with 7,485 participants
helping remove 387,513 pounds of waste from the environment, 11.27 percent
of which was recycled.
Joined the Alliance to End Plastic
Clean4Change Challenge, using the Literati
app to track the collection of 20,287 pieces of
waste by Team Dow.
And as part of its 125th Anniversary, Dow held its most significant and
coordinated global effort, the first-ever Global Volunteer
in May. More than 700 volunteers engaged in campaign activities and collected
over 4,000 pounds of waste, 12 percent of which was recycled.
Of course, Dow and its employees aren’t the only ones creating the ripple
instance, is known for the largest beach cleanup project in the world. From 2015
to 2018, he and 200,000 volunteers cleaned up Versova Beach in
Like many people doing sustainability work, Shah can trace his efforts back to a
specific moment that caught his attention and spurred him into action: When he
moved to the Versova Beach community as an adult, he realized how drastically
different it looked from when he played there as a child — the beach was now
covered in trash. But once he started cleaning up waterways, he didn’t stop.
After Versova was clean, he continued his efforts to grow a movement and launch
a foundation dedicated to inspiring people around the world to clean up their
surroundings. He’s partnered with various organizations, including
in his efforts.
is a well-known TikTok personality with more than 1 million followers. His
current goal is to document picking up trash off the beach every day in 2022,
and he educates his followers and inspires them to get involved. Along with fun
and effective ideas such as the “trunk of
treasures” — to
collect plastic toys before they end up in the ocean, so other kids can play
with them — he also partners with brands and local
to expand his impact.
And then there’s Mr. Trash
simple machine that intercepts waste before it makes its way to the ocean. The
technology’s inventor spent 20 years working along the waterfront in
Baltimore (a city that falls behind the national
for recycling) after seeing the amount of trash that piled up daily. Now, Mr.
Trash Wheel is a well-known and beloved symbol of sustainability in the
Many larger organizations are innovating for change, too. The Ocean
for example, is working on research and development to create an open ocean
that doesn’t catch sea life or require towing by large vessels. Another, World
is working to improve solid waste management and circular economy development in
South Africa, with the intent to set a standard for neighboring countries.
The list of people and organizations making an impact goes on and on. The point
is that education sparks awareness and inspiration, and inspiration and
collaboration combine to accelerate real change. Beach cleanups are just one
catalyst that can set that process into motion.
Dow inspires individuals and organizations to expand their waste cleanup efforts
by joining the #PullingOurWeight
By doing so, people commit to working collaboratively with their company and
partners to volunteer and clean up the environment.
Once committed, participants can define a focal point within their organization,
engage employees in an existing cleanup or sustainability-focused community
event, or organize their own #PullingOurWeight event. Dow provides guidance and
a virtual training session to review the critical elements of a successful and
The campaign rallies people across the globe for waste cleanup and educational
events, raising awareness and furthering engagement to address pollution on a
widespread scale. Dow increases companywide #PullingOurWeight goals to maximize
impact year after year and aims to inspire all participants to lead more
The overall puzzle of ocean restoration is complex; but to Dow, it is clear that
organized cleanups are one of the most important pieces because they can create
a spark that will ignite the type of passion it takes to drive change.
To join the charge as a catalyst in your own community, take the pledge today.
Published Aug 12, 2022 8am EDT / 5am PDT / 1pm BST / 2pm CEST
This article, produced in cooperation with the Sustainable Brands editorial team, has been paid for by one of our sponsors.
Everyone has a role to play in creating a more sustainable world: Dow is taking action to address the full scale of challenges, collaborating with partners to improve the industry’s processes and through innovation to help communities become more sustainable.