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Trash Free Seas Alliance® Membership Principles

Resource Purpose:

The purpose of this document is to define the framework to engage Trash Free Seas Alliance® (Alliance) members in a common vision. The Alliance brings together thought leaders from industry, conservation and academia to create a forum for pragmatic, real-world collaboration focused on the measurable reduction of ocean trash. Alliance members agree to work toward the immediate goal of demonstrably reducing the amount of plastic waste leaking into the ocean annually by 50% by 2025 through a diverse portfolio of initiatives while working toward other long-term solutions for a future of trash free seas. The Membership Principles document is an evolving resource that focuses the Alliance’s vision on conservation outcomes and holds members accountable for driving ocean health solutions over time.  Our goal is to ensure that these principles grow over time to reflect how our actions and ambitions continue to grow.

Alliance Structure within Ocean Conservancy

TFSA Structure

Alliance Vision:

A world with waterways, beaches and an ocean free of plastic waste

Alliance Mission:

Unite leaders to mitigate plastic waste entering the ocean

Alliance Goal:

Create pragmatic, real-world collaboration focused on reducing the amount of plastic waste leaking into the ocean annually by 50% by 2025

Alliance Membership Principles:

Membership Principles define the shared philosophy that governs the Alliance’s work on plastic waste entering the ocean and informs its decision-making process.  The work of the Alliance is:

  • Grounded in science
  • Adaptable to changing conditions
  • Environmentally and socially responsible as determined through a holistic approach that considers costs and benefits of (in)action in complex systems
  • Focused on solutions with the largest impacts on mitigating ocean plastic waste over the shortest amount of time
  • Inclusive of diverse stakeholders committed to developing solutions and creating shared value

Alliance Membership Criteria:

Membership Criteria outline the characteristics, features and expectations that Ocean Conservancy considers for all members. Membership in the Alliance is by invitation only, though we encourage organizations to reach out to us for information and to learn more. To be considered for Alliance membership, and to maintain active membership in the Alliance, organizations must:

  • Be willing to engage in programmatic work to build knowledge and expertise on plastic waste entering the ocean, potential solutions, and opportunities to make progress toward the Alliance Vision, Mission, and Goal. Examples include but are not limited to:
    • Participation in a signature initiative
    • Participation in Alliance meetings and conference calls
    • Referencing TFSA findings, materials, and talking points in public and internal presentations
    • Amplifying Alliance announcements and communications
  • Be able to participate through a senior organizational representative with decision-making authority to help deliver action oriented results
  • Respect requests for confidentiality or proper handling of sensitive information
  • Have established, or be in the process of setting, sustainability targets and/or organization goals consistent with the Alliance’s goal related to marine debris (this could include, but is not limited to, product and packaging initiatives, education and awareness building, or efforts directly related to marine debris removal and prevention)
  • Recognize the importance and significance of peer reviewed science which serves as a foundation for the work of Ocean Conservancy and the Alliance, and to the extent possible incorporate these findings in organizational commitments and efforts
  • Not be engaged in activities that fundamentally undermine the Alliance goal
  • Not be involved, or expected to be involved, in litigation with Ocean Conservancy or other Alliance members on matters related to the Alliance Vision, Mission, and Goal
  • Not be in conflict with Ocean Conservancy’s efforts, including programs outside of the Trash Free Seas® program

Alliance Membership Shared Commitments:

Membership Shared Commitments define the actions that all active member organizations of the Alliance will demonstrate. Within the first 12 months of joining the Alliance, members should have defined a time bound commitment at a level and intensity commensurate with achieving a 50% reduction of plastic waste entering the ocean annually by 2025, and reflective of the size and nature of an organization. Members will communicate these activities using a template provided by the TFSA to create a profile, which will be made available on the Alliance website, highlighting the collective impact of the Alliance and amplifying members’ efforts outside of the Alliance. To the extent possible, members are encouraged to highlight quantifiable impacts on marine debris reduction. As a member of the Alliance, organizations will:

  • Target solutions to reduce the amount and impacts of plastic waste on marine life, and coastal and upstream communities, including:
    • Advance collaborative, cross-sector efforts to create the enabling conditions for change (financial, policy, legal, technical, etc.)
    • Identify individual commitments and implement changes in business practices, where appropriate, within their home institution
    • Actively engage in aligned efforts to move toward more circular systems of materials use and reduce the generation of waste (e.g. WWF’s Cascading Materials Vision, EMF’s New Plastics Economy, corporate targets for increased recycled content, etc.)
  • Advocate (within organization) for best practices, sound policies and good governance for reductions in marine debris
  • Leverage institutional resources (e.g. marketing reach) to significantly expand public awareness and engagement on ocean plastic waste entering the ocean

Marine wildlife like our beloved octopuses are counting on us to protect their homes.

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