From Beach to Boardroom – creating value from plastic pollution

Lars Urheim and Jan Christian Vestre with material samples

Increasing producer responsibility, means less plastic pollution. Ope, IVAR and Vestre have jointly established the project From beach to boardroom. A tangible measure on the part of the business community to address the challenges associated with plastic in nature.

Producer responsibility

The business world has long made a good profit, having unlimited access to our planets limited resources. The results of this can be seen today with the looming global environmental catastrophe. “We want to show the way for the future business community. It is untenable to simply continue as before. The actors engaged in commerce today must take responsibility where our predecessors have not. The business community now needs to find ways to create value by rehabilitating damaged nature.” Says Lars Urheim, General Manager of Ope.

The From beach to boardroom project will take plastic that has gone astray out of nature, and into Norwegian design objects meant for commercial buildings and public spaces. A value chain will be established that places the collected plastic back into a usage cycle and ensures it is kept there.

Lars Urheim and Jan Christian Vestre with material samples
Wants to clean up plastic pollution. Norwegian furniture companies Vestre and Ope will make use of ownerless marine plastic in their products

Research and block chain

Through a preliminary project in 2018, the research institute SINTEF verified for the parties and then partner Fjord Fiesta, that ocean plastic is functionally capable for use in products. The collaboration now also includes the block chain company Empower. Empower has developed a block chain based system for documenting the origin of plastic. In this way, precision and trust are attained in where the plastic was collected from. This safeguards the project’s purpose and ensures that it is ownerless plastic that is being included in the new value chain.

Plastic with purpose

The plastic will subsequently be tagged with the history of precisely where and by whom it was collected. This will make it possible to follow it all the way from the beach to, for example, the board room of the company purchasing it. Through procurement from this value chain, a direct contribution is made to the needed global clean-up. At the same time, one can enjoy quality Norwegian design products – such as Ope’s unique shelving solutions. The From beach to boardroom project will create value from the plastic pollution that today is a global problem.

Broad collaboration

“We are already co-operating with actors throughout the entire value chain. Still we have plenty of room for companies that wish to shoulder their share of the responsibility by choosing products from ownerless marine plastic for their buildings and properties. Large companies such as Google and Adidas have already decided to only purchase products of recycled material in the immediate future. We desire to recruit Norwegian actors with the same level of ambition to partner up with us. The more responsibility taken, the less plastic pollution. A winning situation for everyone”, says Urheim.

The Norwegian Retailer’s Environment Fund has great faith in the project, supporting it with NOK 2 million. Their contribution will ensure the project being implemented at full scale. The goal is to be able to realize From beach to boardroom during the course of the next year.

Did you know that open plan offices can decrease productivity with 15 %?

When we think about open-plan offices we often picture energetic and social work environments. Enthusiastic people in cool locations. Bright, open spaces where creativity and collaboration flourishes. It’s cost efficient, it’s social, it’s motivating, it’s trendy, it’s the future. And it is distracting. It is stressful, and it can actually decrease productivity. Yet more and more employees are now in open plan offices.

But can’t we just give everyone headphones or muting microphones?

Even though humans are social creatures research show that we need shielding and the sense of private space. The most efficient open plan offices have shielding that is so high that you have to stand to see and contact your colleague.

Did you know that research show that open plan offices can decrease productivity with 15 %? A small distraction can make you lose focus up to 20 minutes! And it can create health issues and increase sick leave. We are looking at high costs!

Not to mention what it does to the environment! An open-plan office is constantly changing and every year large quantums of fully functional furniture and inventory ends up as waste. A lot of it comes from offices. We all know it. But changes to work environment does not have to be at the expense of the environment.

We have many satisfied customers, for example Bergen.Works, who says:

With Ope we have made the perfect solution for our Co-Working space. We have managed to create rooms within a rom – using room dividers which give shielding and help to keep the rooms open and light and inspire to creativity and innovation.

Ope is the new thing within office interior that optimizes people’s environment in open-plan offices. Ope is modular and consists of modules that can be built and taken apart according to need – just like LEGO.

So what separates Ope from others, besides that it is modular?

Our solutions transform open plan offices into good working environments through variety and flexibility. Each module can be open or closed. Giving you endless possibilities to customize solutions for different rooms and employees. Wool cushions act as sound absorbers and bring colour to the interior.

So with Ope you get a Kinder-egg; storage, shielding and sound dampening. You get a room divider without closing off light – and which is open enough so that it inspires interaction. You can also create a room within the room and make social spaces.

The click patent in the connectors is the key that enables you to easily assemble the modules so that you can customize solutions to get the best working environment for your office and employees – and you can rebuild and expand with just a few clicks.

Sustainable design // circular economy

Buildings and interiors are constantly changed by their inhabitants. This process normally costs more than you like and puts a strain on the environment through excessive use of resources. Ope embraces this knowledge, and has created a modular system based on the principles of circular economy.

That is way Ope has a classic and timeless design with components that can be used over and over again.

We have reversed vending for all our used components to ensure that none of our products end up as waste.

We rent out components to businesses that only needs furniture for a short period, thereby reducing unnecessary mass production.

In collaboration with SINTEF and IVAR we will now look at the possibility to create a new composite material of recycled ocean plastic. If we succeed, you will by buying Ope, help clean up the ocean.