4ocean’s digital leads share the inside scoop on building a purpose-before-profit company.
Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Americans will produce an extra 1 million tons of trash every single week, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
That would be an additional 25 million tons of trash entering landfills and the ocean every holiday season, according to 4ocean, the company that uses the sale of its bracelets and other products to fund ocean cleanups. “If every U.S. family reused two feet of holiday ribbon this year, we’d save enough of it to tie a bow around the planet, just like the gift it is.”
Such is the helpful, eco-friendly tone in every communication from 4ocean. It was founded in January 2017 by Andrew Cooper and Alex Schulze, two surfers who found their life’s purpose after a trip to Bali.
Take Out the Trash
Aghast at the rampant pollution in this Indonesian province, they set out to find a solution: Their Boca Raton, Fla.-based for-profit company. For every product the 200-person company sells, it pulls at least one pound of trash from oceans, rivers and beaches. The process has been certified by the Better Business Bureau. Professional crews have pulled more than 11.6 million pounds of trash off the coasts of South Florida, Guatemala, Indonesia, and Haiti.
In 2019, Forbes named Cooper and Schulze to its 30 under 30 list of social entrepreneurs. Earlier this year, 4ocean became a Certified B Corporation, an international standard for companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.
But it’s Steve Lamb, the company’s head of global digital marketing, and Patrick Carney, director of customer experience, who steer the company’s communications ship. In an exclusive interview with Velocitize, Lamb and Carney explained their digital strategy for the holidays, shared tales of how the company has weathered the Covid-19 pandemic, and provided their unique perspective on how business can make the world better.
Know Your Customers
“Our end point is to rid the ocean of plastic, and we want to take the customers on our journey—not just highlight the wins, but the process of doing that,” Carney says. “It’s an arduous process, and we want to invite them into it. When you come on board with 4ocean you’re becoming part of that mission.”