TOM FORD awards innovation of a seaweed plastic alternative

Tackling the issue of single-use plastic, TOM FORD BEAUTY and The Estée Lauder Companies awards innovators of sustainable seaweed packaging products

With around 12 million tonnes of plastics entering the ocean every year, and 180 billion traditional thin-film plastic bags are consumed by the fashion industry with seemingly irreversible effects. Serious intervention is required from the consumer goods industry to bring this down to zero. While this isn’t an issue that will actively impact the 2030 emissions target, the continued addition of plastic and rubbish is beginning to be noticed across the globe. 

Animals and habitats become swamped in materials and it’s even been recognised that, thanks to the growing quantity of microplastics, humans naturally ingest them via other foods like fish. 

It’s safe to say that plastic pollution is in our best interests, and it all starts with commerce. 

Important stakeholders in the fashion consumer goods industry, TOM FORD BEAUTY and The Estée Lauder Companies are teaming up with a non-profit organisation with a unified commitment to innovate and reduce the demand for plastics across the industry. 

Working with Lonely Whale to launch the TOM FORD Plastic Innovation Accelerator, the initiative marks a major time and financial investment in reducing the amount of plastic consumed.

Kickstarting a sustainable seaweed packaging revolution

Working with the charity, these companies will work with organisations researching and developing seaweed-based solutions that can replace thin-film plastics—the kinds that plague oceans but are necessary for sealing products for transit. 

Organisations like Sway, Zerocircle and Notpla champion the development of seaweed solutions and are the winners of the US$1.2m Plastic Innovation Prize, which was announced by Tom Ford at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards in March 2023. 

The complexity of integrating entirely new, sustainable solutions into supply chains is not to be underestimated. In order to bring the seaweed product into the market, the companies will most likely require further research, transit testing, and overall quality assurance to determine whether such a product is feasible for the number of goods distributed globally. 

This collaboration with the prize-winning innovators marks a major step in testing circular solutions that use natural resources and discourage the use of single-use plastics in the future. 

“In my opinion, ethical luxury is the greatest luxury of all," Ford says in the latest update on the Plastic Innovation Prize. 

"The Tom Ford customer is sophisticated with a heightened awareness of the issues facing our planet and the responsibility we have to protect it. Sustainability is a key issue in our lives right now. In particular, the amount of ocean plastic that we are generating is perhaps taking the greatest toll on our environment of all. For every 1000 ocean plastic timepieces we produce and sell, we permanently remove and prevent 490 pounds of plastic waste from entering the ocean. It is incredibly appealing to know that you are not only wearing a high-quality product, but by simply owning the product you are also taking direct action to improve the planet."

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