Have you ever considered how businesses and climate change affect the oceans? It's actually a big deal, not just for the water’s sensitive ecosystems and marine wildlife but also for humans and business! If we can continue to hurt the oceans and its wildlife at the rate we are right now, the damage could be irreversible.
Businesses can negatively impact the ocean in several ways, whether or not the sea is an integral part of your company. This includes:
So we spoke to Natalie and Brandyn of Tortuga Creative Studio, the world's first Ocean-Focused Brand Consultants, to find out what businesses can do to harness their collective power for good and reduce their impact on our oceans.
Seven years ago, Tortuga Creative Studios started its journey as a creative branding studio on a mission to change the world with its art. While the first six years of business were not solely ocean-focused, they consistently connected with the ocean-forward clients they worked with the most, thanks to their own personal love for the sea.
In 2022, they committed to only working with ocean-focused clients. As the ocean sector grows, they recognise that businesses will need support from those who know the ins and outs of brand strategy, communication and creative services but also understand that a core piece of their work is about shaping a better future for the oceans.
Now, through their one-of-a-kind approach to brand consulting, they help passionate ocean-focused businesses and organisations leverage their brands to create solid and sustainable growth while increasing their positive ocean impact.
So who better to ask about ocean protection this Earth Day? Let’s get started…
Simply put, our waterways and oceans are essential to civilisation, the integrity of local and global ecosystems that support us, and all other life on the planet.
Our customers, clients, communities, businesses, cities, rural areas, agriculture, natural areas, fish and wildlife - all rely on the health of our oceans and waterways. As business owners, consideration for our channels shows respect, responsibility and commitment that goes beyond the limited interests of our business.
For many of us, water and waterways are essential business resources, and all companies need water to some degree. Water quality and quantity and the health of lakes, rivers, and marine ecosystems are directly connected to our business interests.
Healthy and natural waterways and coastlines support businesses.
And not least important is that our oceans and waterways hold deep ecological, psychological and spiritual significance beyond water and channels as a utilitarian resource. For all these reasons, businesses should consider their impact on water.
“When we damage our water resources, we damage ourselves.”
While we typically think of the damage big business and industry cause to the ocean, businesses of all sizes play a role, whether they mean to or not.
For example, our founder Natalie recently spent some time in the Florida Keys and had a revealing experience with several beachside bars.
While these businesses depend on clean and pristine oceans, she found they served their drinks from single-use plastic cups. Likewise, a snorkel boat tour that she participated in served thirsty guests from plastic water bottles while floating above a designated marine sanctuary. These practices didn’t seem intentional but just something that could be improved upon and leveraged as part of their brand.
In this instance, and so many others, there’s a significant opportunity for these ocean-focused businesses to take stock of what they’re doing and innovate ways they could lessen their impact on the ocean.
Could the beachside bar reduce its impact (and increase its beachy vibe) by swapping plastic straws for wheat grass ones? Could the snorkel boat share awareness of how plastic can threaten the reef they’re snorkelling on by providing their guests with a water bottle refill station at the dock? Absolutely!”
Reducing your business's damage to the ocean doesn’t have to involve significant and overwhelming changes. Like the beachside bars and snorkel boat tours in the Keys, many companies don’t even realise their actions are damaging the ocean.
So starting with an awareness of what your business is doing, alongside the resolve to make the necessary changes, is a significant first step.
When looking for where within your business you may be able to increase your positive impact on the oceans, consider what’s going on with your product, how you deliver it to your customers, your team, the environments you work in and what you communicate.
Let’s imagine you’re that snorkel boat tour operator we mentioned, and you’re keen to start finding ways to make your business more ocean-friendly:
Making a lot of changes at once isn’t going to be realistic for most businesses (unless you happen to have a huge team and a lot of resources at your disposal - in which case go crazy), and that's okay.
"The first step in increasing your positive ocean impact is simply knowing what’s going on with your business and starting to explore ways that you can make adjustments that work for you as you move forward."
To help make it easier for you to make changes in the future, you can use The Remora Approach™ methodology - a simple way of thinking that allows you to consider both the business and ocean element within your business.
To use The Remora Approach™, take any element of your business - current or future - and ask yourself:
If you've got many answers for business growth but not for ocean impact, you have the opportunity to innovate ways to adjust your ideas to do more for the ocean and vice versa.
The key with The Remora Approach™ is that, instead of separating business growth and ocean impact into boxes, it's essential to think of the two as intertwined and necessary to the success of each other.
“Every business decision should consider both aspects, and the best actions for you to take will be the ones that balance growth and positive ocean impact in service of a better future.”
The theme this Earth Day is about investing in our planet, whether that’s your time, energy, money or knowledge. And Tortuga is not alone in its mission to use business as a powerful engine of positive change. Like Tortuga, there are over 300 Earth-positive businesses in the Greenspark community, and many of them are using impact this Earth Day to help make a difference. In fact, many of them are choosing to help protect the ocean and rescue ocean-bound plastic bottles through our partnership with The Plastic Bank. So far, we’ve rescued nearly two million plastic bottles from entering our oceans! And we are just getting started!
Are you taking action this Earth Day? If you’re not part of the Greenspark community and want to join hundreds of other earth-positive companies turning their businesses into agents of change, book a demo here!
Already part of the community but want to do more? Head to your dashboard, where you can easily manage your impact settings. Simply add or increase the number of plastic bottles you will rescue from our oceans for any use cases!
"Tortuga Creative Studio helps passionate ocean-focused entrepreneurs leverage their brands to build resilient businesses that do more for the oceans.
Through a one-of-a-kind approach based on the perspective that business growth + positive ocean impact = a better future, Tortuga combines brand consulting, creativity and ocean-forward thinking to innovate solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing us business owners and ocean lovers.