The Power of collective influence – Kulson’s Underwater Project
The threat to our Earth’s ecosystem is more topical than ever and the evidence is overwhelming: Climate change is ever-present, our food systems are under increasing pressure, and our soils, waters and species are threatened like never before. Unfortunately, the global community is far from meeting this challenge and public funding of the environment is variable even in the best of times. So it is up to us to take responsibility for the planet and drive positive change. The founders of kulson care about the environment and the issue of sustainability. That is why Benjamin and Jakob decided to launch the kulson Underwater Project when they founded the fashion brand. “CLEAN WHITE SNEAKERS FOR A CLEAN BLUE OCEAN” IS THE PHILOSOPHY. The project is aimed at actively freeing the oceans of plastic waste as well as raising awareness for the plastic problem in the seas. Every year, new record quantities of micro- and macroplastics in the oceans are discovered during trials. In this context, it is only a logical consequence that these plastic parts migrate up the food chain living creatures by living creatures and that we ultimately poison ourselves. But the worst thing about it for the founders is not the fact that humans will sooner or later poison themselves, because we have at least ourselves to blame for this dilemma. The greatest injustice, in the eyes of the founders, is that millions and millions of sea dwellers and other animals perish from this plastic vortex. It is in many cases deadly for them, and they are not even a tiny bit to blame for this tragedy, as without us they probably would have never even experienced what plastic is at all. Three hundred thousand dolphins and porpoises die every year because, among other things, they get caught in lost fishing nets, so called ghost nets, floating in the sea. More than a million seabirds are killed yearly by marine pollution because they confuse plastic particles with food and as a consequence die miserably. The WWF predicts that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea. The founding team originally had the plan to start their own Ocean Cleaning initiatives and to remove garbage from non-tourist beaches in self-initiated collection campaigns. Thus, for every pair of shoes sold, a pound of plastic was to be collected from beaches and recycled. During the project evaluation, however, the constant urge for the greatest possible efficiency, effectiveness and transparency led to the decision to initially provide financial support to external organizations who could tackle the plastic problem in the oceans more effectively than them with their own hands. For the founders it is about the greatest possible effect and the most effective assistance, not about an image film. kulson wants to make a difference, so in the long run further and own Ocean Cleanup initiatives are planned. In the initial phase of the project, however, it seemed more sensible to the brand to bundle the resources in the best possible way and to lead them to where the big screws can be turned until the company itself is in the position to do so. Therefore each kūlson sneaker is part of the kūlson Underwater Project and 4% of our Sales goes to various environmental projects worldwide. Additionally, a memory footbed made of recycled materials has been integrated into the shoe and material suppliers are chosen locally in Portugal. Every pair of kulson sneakers sold contributes to the fight against plastic in the ocean. One of these organizations is 1% for the Planet. It is a global movement that inspires companies and individuals to support environmental solutions through annual membership and daily actions. The organization advises on the implementation of strategies, certifies donations and strengthens the network’s impact. 1% for the Planet was founded in 2002 by Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia) and Craig Mathews (founder of Blue Ribbon Flies). The two successful entrepreneurs recognized the power of acting together to protect the environment. They work with individuals and business people to identify environmental organizations that have the greatest impact and are consistent with their own goals. Upon request, it is confirmed that every dollar donated goes to an audited, trusted non-profit organization. The members of this organization have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the environment, and the nonprofit partners are working hard to restore our planet for the future. The foundation of the 1% for the Planet Network is the non-profit partnership of its members. Business and individual members work directly with recognized nonprofit partners or provide financial contributions, volunteering, in-kind contributions, and other collaborations of shared value. The network consists of more than 1,200 member companies, numerous individuals and thousands of non-profit partners in more than 40 countries. kulson has opted for the element of water, because the ocean has a very special meaning and significance for them. If we want to preserve the ocean and its natural beauty, drastic measures must finally be taken. In the past, it was assumed that due to the size of the ocean, the effects of the disposal of garbage and litter into the sea would be minimal. Since 71% of the earth is covered with water, people assumed that all pollutants would be sufficiently diluted and eliminated. Until the 1970s, it was common practice to deliberately dispose chemicals and waste in the oceans. But as we now see, this belief has not proved right – quite the contrary. While the oceans have been suffering human consequences for centuries, the scale has accelerated rapidly in recent decades: Oil spills, toxic waste and tons over tons of plastic in the sea have become the norm. Whole floating islands consisting of rubbish and growing in size have formed in the sea. In the Pacific Ocean, for example, there is an island of garbage twice as large as Texas. The North Pacific Gyre off the coast of California is the largest oceanic garbage dump in the world (Great Pacific garbage patch). There, the number of floating plastic parts exceeds the entire marine life by six to one in the immediate vicinity. Plastics are the greatest evil because they do not decompose easily and are often regarded as food by marine animals. As time goes by, the particles become smaller and smaller (microplastic) and thus penetrate deeper and deeper into our ecosystem, until they finally reach our plates. Plastic deposits also have the ability to absorb other toxic chemicals from the sea. Animals that confuse plastic with food are poisoned on another level and carry this on. In fact, plastic pollution is one of the most serious threats to the ocean. It is up to us to do something about it and everyone can contribute something to it. Start to reconsider your plastic consumption, keep garbage away from the beaches and pick up the plastic straw or the bottle lid if you stumble over one again the next time barefoot on the beach. Spread the message, get up and do something about the plastic problem in our seas. They are unique.