World Oceans Day: Encouraging sustainability

Sofia Nogués, Senior External Communications Manager at Clarivate, urges everyone to take action on sustainability to help safeguard our oceans

Sofia Nogués is based in the Clarivate Barcelona office. In December 2019, she completed a 10-day voyage from Aruba to Panama as part of eXXpedition Round the World – an all-women voyage with a mission to explore the causes of and solutions to the ocean pollution crisis.

As we celebrate World Oceans Day  across the globe this week, Sofia shares more insights on her voyage and research, explains how Clarivate is working to become more sustainable and recommends some simple actions we can all take individually to improve sustainability. For more from Sofia, read her recent review of new research from Clarivate on the bioplastics innovation landscape.


Protecting our oceans and our world

World Oceans Day is an annual event to unite and rally the world to protect and restore our shared ocean life. At Clarivate, sustainability is woven through every aspect of our business strategy. Last week, colleagues from around the world shared ideas and personal actions  taken to be more sustainable on a daily basis as part of our World Environment Day celebration. Every action counts, and it’s the sum of many little actions that will have a great impact.

I had the opportunity to see for myself the devastating impact that the huge amount of waste we produce has on our oceans during my eXXpedition experience last year. It was shocking how many of the things we saw washed up on the beach in the San Blas islands were household items. Everywhere you looked there were plastic, rubber and metal items such as shoes, plastic toothbrushes, deodorants, disposable cutlery and drink cans and bottles.

All of the women on board with me were passionate about reducing plastic waste, changing our habits and working with our companies to improve sustainability. As part of eXXpedition Round the World, we could see first-hand how plastics fragment when exposed to UV light and how they become microplastics in the first place. In every single surface sample we took, we found microplastics. Some were primary microplastics such as plastic pellets and others developed as the result of a larger plastic item breaking down through time and exposure to UV light and weather conditions.

While at sea, the crew took samples from three levels: the surface, 25 meters deep and the ocean floor. We sifted through the surface samples to classify the microplastics by size before they went to the laboratory. University labs will study the data collected during the different legs of the expedition to look at the behavior of plastics, whether they sink or float and how ocean currents impact this behavior. We believe that they’re probably sinking, but we don’t know where they’re going or how they affect biodiversity. Additional research on land tracked all the different types of waste found in a 100-meter stretch to investigate how plastics leak into the environment. Understanding where plastic waste is coming from will allow communities to put in place policies and mechanisms to avoid it ending up in our oceans.


Photo credit: Sophie Dingwall


Small actions can have a huge impact

eXXpedition was a great experience for me which really shone the light on our plastic pollution crisis. This is a situation we all contribute to with the choices we make when purchasing products. We need to stop and think about how we can change our own consumption habits, as well as how we might influence those around us. Taking responsibility means taking action and we can start in our own homes. I believe that just a few small actions by everyone can have a great impact on sustainability and start a chain of influence. If each of us can inspire someone else to engage in reducing plastic waste, our impact will be even greater.

Efficient waste management is one of the best ways that we can all reduce environmental impact and promote sustainability. The keywords are reduce, reuse and recycle – in that order. Firstly, reduce our plastic waste, then reuse anything we can and finally recycle anything we can’t reduce or reuse. This three-step approach can significantly decrease the global impact and conserve natural resources, cut pollution and lessen our carbon footprint.


“I believe that just a few small actions by everyone can have a great impact on sustainability and start a chain of influence.”


The first step to minimizing waste is to consider only buying the products that you really need. Recycle everything that you can and avoid excessive packaging and even packaging completely if possible. Also separate your household waste into items that can be reused before you throw anything away. Further actions you can take include:

  • Sign the World Oceans Day petition calling for governments worldwide to agree to protect at least 30% of the planet’s land and ocean by 2030.
  • Switch to wooden toothbrushes instead of plastic ones.
  • Buy toothpaste in a glass jar instead of a plastic tube.
  • Be mindful of what you are purchasing – making something yourself can save a lot of packaging waste. For example, I make my own deodorant which is more natural, environmentally friendly and easy to do.
  • Use bulk shops so you don’t need to buy things like grains and rice in plastic bags.


Clarivate sustainability

I’m proud to work for a company that is committed to operating with care for the planet and national resources. We see sustainability as a cornerstone of success, ensuring we can continue to do great things for years to come.

Time and again, human ingenuity has led to the discovery of game-changing innovations and solutions to some of the world’s most complex problems. At Clarivate, we operate at the heart of the innovation lifecycle. We deliver critical information and insights to organizations that are seeking alternative and innovative solutions to our plastic waste problem. We recently published a report looking at innovation around bioplastics; you can find the report here.

I hope as many colleagues as possible joined in the World Oceans Day activities this week to help advance a more sustainable world.


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