Through the seven-year partnership, Kia will support The Ocean Cleanup’s work and construction of new plastic-collection devices, and integrate portions of the harvested plastic into its value chain.
Today, Kia Corporation joins the growing wave of companies forming strategic partnerships to secure a reliable supply chain for ocean plastic.
Kia has launched a seven-year partnership with Dutch non-profit organization The Ocean Cleanup (TOC) to explore ways to co-create win-win solutions to the global plastic pollution crisis.
TOC is developing and scaling technologies to rid the world's oceans of plastic by stemming the inflow via rivers, as well as by cleaning up what has already accumulated in the ocean. For the latter, The Ocean Cleanup is developing large-scale systems to efficiently concentrate the plastic for periodic removal. To curb the tide via rivers, it has developed Interceptor™ Solutions to halt and extract riverine plastic before it reaches the ocean.
Through the partnership, Kia will support TOC as an official “Global Partner” via financial contributions and in-kind supplies to initiate ocean and river cleanup projects; support construction of TOC’s various river-cleaning devices; and create a resource-circulation system that will integrate harvested plastics into Kia's production and value chain process.
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Kia will also supply four electric vehicles, including one EV6 and three Niro EVs, to the organization’s headquarters in the Netherlands. In return, The Ocean Cleanup will supply usable portions of the collected plastic and share its research results and relevant data on reducing plastic pollution with Kia.
"The key to Kia's vision for a sustainable future is not just to change the product and service areas, but to make positive changes for the planet,” said Kia president and CEO Ho Sung Song. "Kia will continue to make inspirational movements through open partnerships with organizations like The Ocean Cleanup that have innovative technologies and ideas."
This partnership is one of the key strategies in Kia’s corporate vision to build a sustainable future for mobility. Kia plans to increase its percentage of plastic re-use to 20 percent by 2030 and expects to further contribute to environmental protection by establishing and activating a “virtuous recycling loop” to minimize climate impact when disposing of vehicles.
“Plastic is not inherently a bad material, but we must use it responsibly. We demonstrate how we can turn pollution into a solution by launching applications that help clean the oceans and simultaneously – together with our partner Kia – provide proof that recycled plastic can be used sustainably. I hope that we can inspire others to do the same,” said Boyan Slat, founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup. “This cooperation is the next step in our efforts to [prevent our catch from ending up] back in the environment while using its value to support our cleanup efforts further.”
Kia joins companies including The Body Shop, Kevin Murphy, PUMA and SC Johnson that have formed strategic partnerships to ensure a steady supply of ocean plastic feedstock for recycling into their products and packaging. Combined with the UN’s recent global plastics treaty and the work of collaboratives such as NextWave Plastics; marketplaces such as Oceanworks; and organizations such as the Ocean Plastic Leadership Network, we hope to soon see signs of the tide turning on global plastic pollution.