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American Express Expands Environmental Programming to Combat Marine Plastic

American Express has partnered with Parley for the Oceans to work on company-wide programs that will reduce plastic pollution in our oceans. We spoke to actor and ocean protection advocate Shailene Woodley about what you can do to help.


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This week, American Express has announced an exciting partnership with environmental organization Parley for the Oceans in an effort to continue the brand’s commitment to reducing plastic pollution in the oceans—which remain at high risk given the amount of plastic floating in the water and washing up along shores and beaches.

One of the programs includes the first-ever recycled plastic Amex Green Card, which will be made entirely of reclaimed plastic from beaches and islands.

Additionally, American Express is launching a global call to action through the hashtag #BackOurOceans, a tag than enables consumers to share their stories, tag friends who want to get involved, and start a conversation about these important conservation efforts. Each tag will help fulfill Amex’s goal of removing one million pounds of plastic from beaches and coasts.

Actor Shailene Woodley has become extremely involved in the ocean conservation efforts that align with the goals of American Express and Parley. As an advocate for reducing plastic pollution, Woodley has spent a significant amount of time working with both Greenpeace and the United Nations in the past year, examining the current status of pollution in our oceans, and drafting an ocean protection treaty alongside the U.N. with a goal of protecting 30 percent of the world’s oceans by 2030.

“I started expanding my knowledge of the oceans because I didn’t know a lot about it, and I heard this statistic that roughly 50 percent of our oxygen comes from the ocean, which blew my mind, and was something I was not aware of. And so I’ve really dedicated 2019 to understanding more about our particular marine ecosystem, marine life, and how our choices on land affect them. It's been really empowering, and really insightful, and also really devastating, because the amount of destruction that’s happening that is not visible to the naked eye is astronomical. So in that way it’s just devastating, but empowering because we have so many opportunities at the moment to innovate and create new technologies and new products. But we have a long way to go to get there.”

Woodley was adamant about the importance of starting conversations around plastic use with local store owners, hotel managers, CEOs, etc. “People can become extremely mindful of single-use plastics, whether it’s water bottles, straws, plastic wraps on fruit, plastic products that aren’t necessary but are excessive. Become aware of it, and then try to find alternatives. The more that we become aware, and the more that this becomes a ‘hot topic,’ the more consumer demand will rise, the more major corporations and CEOs will innovate technologies and new products that replace plastic altogether."

In terms of traveling sustainably, Woodley recommends to avoid using plastic cups on airplanes, and always bringing a reusable water bottle and reusable utensils with you.

“I can’t tell you the amount of plastic spoons I’ve saved from eating oatmeal during my layover and reusing the same spoon over and over again,” she said. “Being at hotels: A, bring your own toiletries so you don’t have to use those at the hotel and B, talk to the hotel manager while you’re there. Say, 'Hey, why are you still perpetuating this cycle? There are alternatives now.’ Those conversations are ones I sometimes feel like we feel that we need permission to have, but we don’t. We can easily just have them, and at the end of the day, especially when it comes to travel, corporations want their customers to feel satisfied. It’s the easiest way to drive direct change from the root of the problem.”

Click here to learn more about the American Express and Parley partnership, and the company's conservation efforts.


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