Forbes: World Oceans Day – How Parley’s Eco-Innovation Transforms Pollution Into Purpose

Nel-Olivia Waga
June 9, 2023
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We are currently at war with the oceans. We are destroying the blue universe beneath us with the exploitive way the way we are doing business. If we win this war, we lose it allIt is on us creators, thinkers, leaders to own this problem and to solve it.” These stark words are those of Cyrill Gutsch, founder and CEO of Parley for the Oceans (Parley).

Founded in 2012, Parley is an environmental non-profit organization that focusses on raising awareness of the fragility of the oceans and inspiring systemic change through creativity, collaboration and eco-innovation.

The organization has grown from a series of talks into an established movement and a collaborative network of creators, thinkers and leaders, operating in over 30 countries. These include global institutions and brands, such as the United Nations, where in 2015 an unprecedented Parley Talks session (UN x Parley) under the title “Oceans. Climate. Life.” was held at the United Nations in New York.

adidas and DIOR, brands that Parley collaborated with, as a call for change within the fashion industry.

It has collaborated with World Bank and the South Asia Cooperative Environment Program (SACEP) to set up the Parley for Global Cleanup Network in 2020, a $50m clean-up mission to address the flow of plastic waste in rivers and seas across South Asia.

Emerging from the arts community, with early supporters including the likes of Julian Schnabel and Ed Ruscha creating new works in support of the organization and the ocean cause; Parley has commissioned artworks and sustainable artist-designed surfboards and tote bags through its Art Program with leading contemporary artists including Doug Aitken, Walton Ford, Jenny Holzer, Pipilotti Rist, Rosemarie Trockel, David LaChapelle, Bharti Kher, Katharina Grosse, Peter Shuyff and Tobias Rehberger.

Its creative approach is driving a range of eco-initiatives with leading contemporary artists, galleries and institutions who refuse to accept that their generation will leave behind the legacy of the dead sea and hope to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of our oceans, as well as funds for the ocean cause.

Parley has an array of exciting projects coming up, notably within the art world, highlighting how it strives to be a positive force for change within the global art community. “Artists are driven by true intentions, transparent and clear in expressing their agenda. The artist is therefore the strongest messenger and perfect driver for change” says Gutsch. On 8 June, to commemorate World Oceans Day (WOD), Parley is inviting 200 thought leaders, creatives and executives in the ocean space to a premier of a film series by their long-time collaborator and awarded investigative journalist Ian Urbina, who is known for his relentless pursuit of truth and justice and this film will expose the hidden world of maritime crimes.

Parley is also collaborating with Phillips Auction House, bringing together world-renowned artists, site-specific installations, and one-of-a-kind art and design experiences throughout 2023. For the first time, Parley will offer a selection of artworks in Phillips’ New Now summer and fall sales in London and New York to raise funds for Parley’s Global Cleanup Network. The artworks included are donated directly from the artists who will be announced in due course to support Parley. With coastal cleanups and interception operations carried out in over 30 countries so far, the Parley Global Cleanup Network works to protect marine environments from plastic pollution and other threats.

Later this year, Parley will submerge three Underwater Pavilions by the American artist Doug Aitken off the coast of St Barthélémy (St Barth’s). Underwater Pavilions are large-scale, reflective, multi-faceted and cavernous pavilions that float beneath the ocean’s surface and can be swum to and through, by swimmers, snorkelers, divers, and sea creatures alike. They create underwater spaces synthesizing art and science as they are constructed with carefully researched materials and will be moored to the ocean floor. Part of each structure is mirrored to reflect the underwater seascape and create a kaleidoscopic observatory for the viewer, while other surfaces are rough and rock-like designed to foster marine growth. The environments created by the sculptures will constantly change with the currents and the time of day, focusing the attention of the viewer on the rhythm of the ocean and its life cycles.

Parley’s Founder knows too well that campaigning to save life on our planet may feel like a daunting task, and how it can be easy to become disheartened. But he is unfaltering in his mission to save our oceans and there will be no future for us unless we change our ways. “We must use our skill sets to do what we can to help accelerate an existing movement and break through its echo chambers before it’s too late,” says Gutsch.

Earlier this year, in March, an historic Global Ocean Treaty was finally agreed at the United Nations after almost two decades of negotiations. This was a huge moment for conservation and a hopeful sign that in a divided world, protecting nature for the benefit of all people can triumph over geopolitics. This monumental win for ocean protection reminds us that taking action makes a difference and that people power works, and it is exactly this – collaboration – that is needed to help save our beloved oceans.

HER/etiquette

Founded in 2014, re-launched in 2019 – by Nel-Olivia Waga. It is an international luxury lifestyle blog, that features stories under the aspect of a conscious mindset. It collaborates with leading brands and specialists who share the idea of generating a positive impact in the world. Based in Zurich and London, it covers local hotspots and global trends around sustainability, innovation, well-being, health, beauty, travel, time, art, business and charity.

Nel-Olivia Waga is the Founder & Publisher of HER/etiquette. She is a Brand Consultant, an Author and Entrepreneur, most passionate about well-being, travel, nature and art. Her work can regularly be seen in her column on FORBES. Her consultancy YMPACT LAB, creates innovative marketing projects for luxury brands based on passion, purpose and sustainable impact.

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This is our first step in contributing to the global movement of creating a more positive impact in the world – and in you.

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CONSCIOUS LUXURY

#ConsciousLuxury is the theme of HER/etiquette. We combine luxury lifestyle with consciousness. Each story we share, is underlined with values. The purpose and innovation of the brands we collaborate with, are as important to us, as their initiatives towards ethical craftsmanship, sustainability holistic health and social responsibility.

This is our first step in contributing to the global movement of creating a more positive impact in the world – and in you.

PLANT TREES WITH US

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