Brand Highlight: Block Funds 1,000,000 lb IMPAC+ Program
A little over a year ago, Oceanworks launched IMPAC+ – a plastic offset program – designed to encourage brands to accelerate their plastic action efforts by funding the reclamation of at-risk plastic. Now it's time to acknowledge the brands that are prioritizing the plastic pollution crisis. Periodically, we will be highlighting Oceanworks brand partners that have successfully funded IMPAC+ Projects around the globe.
Block Inc. (Block), a global technology company with a focus on financial services that is made up of Square, Cash App, Spiral, TIDAL, and TBD, launched its plastic pollution program in 2022.
Block historically had both a carbon reduction road map and a growing carbon removal portfolio. While carbon is an important indicator for a business’s environmental impact, Block determined their environmental initiatives shouldn’t stop with carbon.
Following the launch of IMPAC+ in early 2022, Block began discussions to add plastic action to its portfolio of CSR initiatives. By July, an agreement had been penned for Oceanworks and Block to begin work on two parallel initiatives: the removal of 1,000,000 lbs of at-risk plastic and executing a plastic footprint audit to help establish a foundation for future plastic action initiatives.
BLOCK'S PLASTIC ACTION PROGRAM THROUGH IMPAC+
In order to achieve 1,000,000 lbs of removal, Oceanworks deployed its global network of IMPAC+ projects. In total, Block leveraged the use of five separate at-risk plastic projects:
Indonesia Oceanbound Plastic Waste Building Materials: This project funds the recovery and diversion of ocean-bound plastic “mud”–generated in the cleaning process of recycling–into durable building products.
|North American Fishing Net Reclamation: This project helps to cover costs associated with recycling fishing nets, like (i.e. sorting, storage, transportation, cleaning, processing, etc.)
|Reclamation of Waterway Plastic: This project funds the collection of river waste around the globe (Ghana, Kenya, India, & Indonesia) for the purposes of recycling or proper disposal.
|Thailand Ocean & Oceanbound Plastic Waste Collection: This project was established to recover and recycle ocean, oceanbound and coastal plastic waste by incentivizing the formal and informal waste collectors and recycling agents of islands and remote coastal areas.
India Oceanbound Plastic Waste Removal: This project funds the collection of oceanbound plastic that otherwise is too expensive to return to the circular economy via a network of informal waste collector organizations.
BLOCK'S PRELIMINARY PLASTIC AUDIT
As part of this initiative, it was important to the Block team to do a preliminary audit of their plastic footprint. While the work towards 1M pounds is an impressive one, it was just as important to their team to understand the breakdown for the organization's plastic usage to better plan for what Block’s plastic action strategy should be in the future.
The preliminary results of this audit indicated the approximate total plastic usage of 2.3 million pounds, which includes all upstream and downstream estimated impact from their products and operations.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
In addition to continued collaboration between Oceanworks and Block, a focus for 2023 is a more in-depth plastic footprint audit to more accurately account for total plastic usage across their business ecosystem.
“We aim to approach our plastic usage through a two-pronged approach of lowering our overall plastic footprint by reducing our consumption, and, where plastics are an unavoidable part of our supply chain and operations, working to transition to recycled content and funding the removal of at-risk plastics from the environment.” - Block, 2022 CSR Report