fbpx
In the November edition of Set in Stone, we’re looking back on a hard-fought year of achievements, innovations, and learnings that will guide the evolution of Okeanos for years to come.
Let’s take a look at our year in review! 
OKEANOS ® NEWSLETTER – NOVEMBER 2021

At the start of 2021, Okeanos charted a course toward a better and brighter future, committing to navigating the waves of a global pandemic, building an international team, improving upon our technology, protecting our intellectual property, and building a rock-solid corporate structure.

Let’s take a look at how far we’ve sailed…

Innovation – In addition to numerous improvements to our existing technologies, we:

  • Were named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Manufacturing Companies
  • Celebrated the opening of the Okeanos Innovation Center, the research and development hub for our game-changing technology, in the Greater Cincinnati Area.
  • Applied to participate in the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize
  • Work continues on alternative binders, additional degradation solutions, and end of life-solutions
  • Continued refinement of our Life Cycle Analysis Capabilities

Product – Okeanos now offers a robust suite of formulations, compounds, and additives which can be used for the following applications.

  • Barrier Film
  • Antibacterial Film
  • Standard Film
  • Thermoforming
  • Injection Molding
  • Blow Molding

A Committed Community – Through our curriculum, Education Rocks! we’ve learned alongside 500+ students in 4 countries, and supported important environmental causes including sea turtle conservation, cetacean research in the Cook Islands, and environmental education.

Global Network – Developed relationships with compounders and joint venture partners in:

  • Brazil
  • Columbia (x2)
  • Spain
  • Okeanos India (Joint Venture)
  • United States
  • Vietnam
  • Malaysia
  • Okeanos Bangladesh (Joint Venture)
  • Okeanos Middle East (Joint Venture)
  • Okeanos Egypt (Joint Venture)
  • Mexico
  • Peru
  • South Africa

Governmental Affairs – Beginning discussions with governments about nationwide solutions for plastic reduction and proposed legislative agendas

Okeanos is thrilled to announce the introduction of leading Colombian rice producer Arroz Zulia’s new bag of white rice Made From Stone!

As part of a larger commitment to sustainability, Coagronorte, maker of Arroz Zulia, wanted to integrate sustainability into every aspect of their business, starting with their packaging.

Comprised of less than half the plastic, and with a significantly lower CO2 footprint, the new rice bag is a meaningful step toward environmentally friendly packaging. “Our alliance with the multinational technology company, Okeanos, and our supplier Plasmar, with whom we have worked on packaging, has taken us more than two years of development. For the first time in Colombia, we will launch a package that is completely faithful to our identity of caring for the environment,” explains Guillermo Infante, CEO of Coagronorte.

The new Arroz Zulia bag will be available across Colombia in Q1 of 2022, and Coagronorte plans to adopt Made From Stone technology across all of it’s leading rice products. We think that rocks!

To learn more about making the switch to stone, email trade@madefromstone.com

 

On the heels of COP26, it’s never been more obvious that society has a long, hard road ahead if we are to collectively keep the temperature from rising beyond the 1.5C threshold, a goal set by the 2015 Paris Climate Accord. If we do nothing, the world is currently on track to warm by 2.7C, according to a recent report by the UNFCC.

Unfortunately, the richest nations, which made up the G20, are responsible for 75% of carbon emissions, and after a drop in emissions by nearly 5% during the first year of the pandemic, global emissions have experienced an unfortunate rebound to pre-pandemic levels, particularly in the case of the US, the EU, India and China.

Fortunately, countries around the world are beginning to take this issue more seriously. Commitments coming out of COP26 include:

  • 105 Countries committing to reducing methane emissions
  • 110 Countries committing to “halt and reverse” deforestation by 2030
  • US committing to net-zero by 2050
  • India committing to net-zero by 2070
  • Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa, committed to achieve net-zero by 2060
  • Amazon Founder, Jeff Bezos has committed $10B through the Bezos Earth Fund to fight climate change and restore land.
  • Glasgow Financial Alliance committed $130 Trillion from 450+ firms across 45 countries toward net-zero efforts.

While these goals are admirable, the commitments are non-binding and failure to achieve them will be detrimental for us all. While we wait for our world leaders to make meaningful legislative moves toward these goals, Okeanos will continue doing our part to reduce our collective carbon footprint and turn off the flow of plastic into our environment.

To learn more about how we’re measuring our carbon footprint,
check out our LCA page here!

 

We all know that COVID-19 significantly exacerbated the plastic pollution problem, but did you know that it also ignited a new wave of commitments to solving it?

As the world adapted to a second year in a global pandemic, the way we eat, shop, and live continued to evolve. Hard fought plastic bag, straw, and cutlery bans were rolled back due to fears over the spread of Covid, resulting in a staggering increase in single-use items. According to the Guardian, more than 70% of Americans reported ordering takeout 1-3 times a week during the pandemic! That’s a lot of plastic forks and take-out containers. E-commerce orders also quadrupled, resulting in a shocking increase in plastic packaging materials, and discarded PPE continues to pile up on the streets, in our waterways, and in landfills.

But, it isn’t all bad news. As consumers spent more time at home, they got to see firsthand the impacts of their consumption, as garbage piled up around them. This increased level of interest also spurned a myriad of new environmentally-focused funding opportunities, a wave of new innovations, and an environmentally curious younger generation who is eager to get out and experience nature again.

Better still, ahead of landmark global climate conferences, brands from all around the world rolled out plastic pledges one after another, committing to reducing virgin plastic, lowering their carbon footprint, and moving forward with their environmental impact in mind.

Are you one of those brands? Get a jump on your plastic reduction targets and carbon footprint goals, by contacting trade@madefromstone.com!

The most noticeable impact of COVID-19 on international business in 2021 was in the shipping and delivery of goods. Images of hundreds of parked container ships waiting to enter ports flooded the airwaves, and the movement of goods around the world slowed to a stuttering halt. However, thanks to our international network, Okeanos was able to navigate these tricky waters. Hernan Contreras, VP of Operations explains how we did it.

2020 and 2021 were unprecedented years for business who operate globally. What was the biggest challenge Okeanos faced and how did we navigate them?  
Increased logistics and freight cost has been an issue during 2021 and there is no short-term solution in sight. For example, imports to the US grew at double digits but shipping capacity has  been increasing at only half. The same situation can be seen in most of the markets around the world.
Okeanos was not exempt from this significant impact on the supply chain, but the rapid analysis of the situation, the agility in decision making and the flexibility in shaping our processes to the new reality, allowed us to overcome these obstacles. All of this, couldn’t be done without a great team behind; having someone as Marcelo as our Global Logistics Manager with his +10 years of experience in the Foreign Trade / Logistics leading the team and Rui as OPS Analyst with all her commitment and dedication, for sure made the difference.

How has having a global network of compounders, converters, and manufacturers helped Okeanos to navigate around some of the challenges that other companies are facing?  
Having a network of compounders and manufacturers distributed around the world was critical to face these challenges. Being able to analyze 4-5 or different sourcing options allowed us to offer our customers multiple options through our decentralized supply chain that could  better fit their needs. Of course, in the industry, we all want to be able to offer our products at the most competitive prices and with the best service level both in terms of time and quality. Instead of being captive to the prevailing conditions from a single site or country, it gives us the flexibility to offer multiple alternatives.

Are there countries that you’ve worked with that have responded better than others to the logistics challenges?
It would be unfair to make that differentiation as our whole network responded amazingly. Coordinating logistics operations involves so many stakeholders that you need to have a great team, as we have at Okeanos, to align all the actors. Having committed suppliers, permanent and fluid communication, the proper technology, and close follow up of the operations makes the difference.

In 2022, Okeanos will be operating on 5 continents. What benefit will having a bigger network offer? 
We already have active compounders in 3 continents (America, Asia and Europe) and we are in the process of qualifying new compounders in Africa and Oceania too, unfortunately we haven’t been able to find a suitable partner in Antarctica yet…
As mentioned before, having a bigger network will allow us to have more and better options, improve costings and service level. Benchmarking and exchanging best practices within our network will enrich and nourish our system.
Logistics will remain as a challenge for long term, so our main focus at Operations and Partnerships in Okeanos is to dramatically increase the local / regional options to be closer to our customers. Even though we are still a young company, we learnt a lot in 2021 in particular and we were able to redefine our processes to rapidly scale our capacity.

To join our global network of suppliers, email partnerships@madefromstone.com

Meet Yanel Ruiz, our Global Quality Manager. Yanel works alongside our Operations Director to implement systems and processes that ensure the work we do at Okeanos is the best it can be. Learn about how she tackles this enormous task with an international team, and what drew her to it.

Tell us about your childhood. Did you spend time by the ocean?      
Yes! We used to spend every holiday at the beach, specially to Florianapolis beach in Brazil.

How has working for an environmentally focused company impacted the choices you make in your daily life?     
I always been very mindful of the environment. It is a value that was instilled in me from a very young age. However, since I started my work at Okeanos, I’m definitely more aware of how much single-use plastic is in the products I use every day. I try to make conscious choices, picking products that have less plastic, and that can be reused and recycled.
You work on the Quality team. Why are certifications so important?  
Certifications give Okeanos not only a worldwide recognition demonstrating reliability to our present and future customers, but also helps us to improve our internal process reducing re-work, overlaps, ensuring and increase the quality of our products.

What’s the most challenging aspect of implementing a quality management system? 
The most challenging aspect of my job is changing people’s mindsets. Getting the whole team on board and committing to the QMS is most important. After all, the QMS is of the whole company, and doesn’t solely rely on the Quality team.
If everyone owns their processes, we can teach every department to see how each of the daily activities between departments correlate, and how best to communicate effectively. The company has a better foundation because we have these systems in place.

If you could pick a body of water anywhere in the world to spend time near, where would it be?  
I would choose Villa Lago Meliquina, a beautiful lake in Patagonia that I discovered three years ago and have visited every summer since!

What new skill or hobby did you pick up during quarantine?  
I started baking my own bread for breakfast. I had to try the recipe several times until I found the perfect one!

Now that the world is beginning to re-open, what is the thing you’re most looking forward to?  
I plan to continue traveling, and surrounding myself with more incredible places in nature.

This season, the Northern Lights aren’t mother nature’s only spectacular light show! If you’re fortunate enough to live in Sydney, Australia, you may have gotten a chance to see the sea glow!
So what gives the ocean it’s neon shine?

Bioluminescence! This natural phenomenon occurs due to a chemical reaction inside the light-producing organ of a glowing creature. Similar to fireflies you may see light up the night sky in the summer, marine organisms use their lights to attract prey, confuse predators, or attract mates. Certain plankton called dinoflagellates even light up at specific times of day causing the surface of the water to take on an other-worldly glow.

There are plenty of places around the world where you can catch one of mother nature’s light shows including:

  • San Juan Island, Washington, US
  • Springbrook Park, Australia
  • Halong Bay, Vietnam
  • Puerto Mosquito, Vieques, Puerto Rico

Next time you’re visiting one of these seaside spots, keep an eye out for anything glowing in the water. You might just be able to experience this phenomenon for yourself!

To keep up with all the cool things we see in the sea, be sure to follow us on Instagram @WeAreMadeFromStone!

News You Should Know: