Published 2 years ago.
About a 4 minute read.
Solving the oceans’ critical challenges will require more brands to directly invest in — and get involved with — restoration, regeneration and rehabilitation efforts. Bumble Bee’s partnership with SeaTrees provides a replicable model for what that can look like.
A new partnership between Bumble Bee Seafoods and
SeaTrees program aims to launch an innovative
ocean-regeneration effort in two countries — with the larger goal of enabling
more corporate engagement and investment in coastal and marine ecosystems projects with scientifically backed regenerative benefits.
“The ocean has the superpower to reverse climate change, but we need to help it
happen by protecting and restoring blue-carbon (the carbon stored in coastal and marine ecosystems) ecosystems,” Michael Stewart,
co-founder of SeaTrees, told Sustainable Brands™.
Together, SeaTrees and Bumble Bee aim to fill an important gap. Ocean health has
long been neglected — despite its role as a regulator of global climate, a
source of protein for hundreds of
and a repository of rich biodiversity. Human impacts and unsustainable
exploitation have resulted in millions of tons of plastic in
the degradation of coral
and sea-grass ecosystems, and the strain on fisheries to feed a growing population.
Despite this, funding for ocean protection is lacking. It’s the United
Nations Sustainable Development
Goal (Goal 14: Life below
water) with the least
— neglected by governments, non-profits; and, for the most part, brands, too.
“The organizations in our economy that have those types of dollars are
for-profit companies, so that is key. Our SeaTrees platform is creating a space
for brands to invest directly in ocean conservation,” Stewart says.
Bumble Bee made waves when it launched an innovative seafood sustainability
last year that includes pillars to protect fisheries, reduce bycatch and plastic
pollution, and ensure that workers in its supply chain are protected through
fair labor practices and community programs. But putting out a report is one
thing — the next step was translating this into meaningful action.
“When we began to hear and learn more about the incredible work that
organizations and businesses across the world are doing to restore the ocean, it
made sense to investigate further,” says Renee Junge, Bumble Bee’s VP of
Corporate Strategy and Communications, told SB. “As we researched, it became
clear that the ocean has an incredible regenerative effect, but we are at the
point that we need to help those processes along.”
Bumble Bee’s initial connection to SeaTrees was
through Sustainable Brands — as both organizations are involved in the
community. Stewart was impressed not only with Bumble Bee’s plan, but how the
entire organization seemed committed to ocean regeneration.
“It’s not often that you get an immediate response back, and all the way from
the top,” Stewart says. “Their CEO, Jan Tharp, wanted to take time out of
her schedule to meet us and see the project site. That tells you that this is a
The initial effort will see Bumble Bee invest in supporting the
SeaTrees program in two project locations: one in
Southern California; and the other in Indonesia — where SeaTrees is
working with local restoration partners to do active kelp and mangrove forest
rehabilitation, rebuilding damaged ecosystems that can sequester carbon and
One especially important aspect of the Southern California kelp
ecosystem-restoration project is the involvement of scientists, who will be
assessing carbon-capture capability and other ecosystem service benefits.
Currently, this data just don’t exist; but it could inform future projects, and
also allow the regeneration of kelp forests to tap into global carbon
“If we weren’t doing this project and bringing partners in like Bumble Bee,
there would not be the opportunity for our science partners — like The Bay
Foundation — to measure the impact, document it, and then create an effective
strategy for kelp forest restoration to be scaled up elsewhere on the West
Coast,” Stewart says.
For Bumble Bee, this is just the start — as the company plans to expand its
efforts to ensure that the world’s fisheries and oceans are healthy and thriving
for future generations.
“Our commitment to supporting ocean regeneration will expand beyond the two
SeaTrees projects we kicked off this year,” Junge says. “We are also looking at
additional partnerships with NGOs, academia and other institutions for
restoration projects in each of our major areas.”
Meeting the oceans’ challenges will require more brands to directly invest in —
and get involved with — restoration, regeneration and rehabilitation efforts.
Bumble Bee’s partnership with SeaTrees provides a
replicable model for what that can look like.
Published Jun 7, 2021 8am EDT / 5am PDT / 1pm BST / 2pm CEST
Nithin is a freelance writer who focuses on global economic, and environmental issues with an aim at building channels of communication and collaboration around common challenges.