American Express Company announced a $250,000 grant to Ocean Conservancy in support of its International Coastal Cleanup and Trash Free Seas programs.
The International Coastal Cleanup, taking place on Saturday, September 15, is the world’s largest single-day volunteer effort to remove trash from local waterways, beaches, lakes and rivers. As part of the grant, American Express employees will also participate in five coastal cleanup events in the U.S., Italy, Malaysia and Australia this fall.
Earlier this year, American Express, in partnership with Parley, an organization focused on combating marine plastic pollution, announced a collaboration to raise awareness of this issue with card members, business partners and employees. As part of the effort, American Express announced plans to launch the first-ever American Express card manufactured primarily from recovered plastic found in the oceans and on the coasts.
“Oceans, lakes and rivers play a vital role in the lives of our card members and employees as well as the health of our communities and our planet,” said Timothy J. McClimon, president of American Express Foundation, in a statement. “We want to be a part of the movement to protect our waterways and their wildlife for the enjoyment of future generations.”
“We are thrilled that American Express will #suituptocleanup our ocean during the International Coastal Cleanup on September 15,” said Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program, in a statement. “American Express’ support will help volunteers remove more than 20 million pounds of trash and plastic from the world’s beaches and coasts. But cleanups are only one—important—aspect of the solution. Businesses around the world have a role to play in tackling the ocean plastic crisis, and American Express is serving as an example of corporate leadership on this issue. We look forward to their continued engagement in the fight for trash-free seas.”
Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup has assembled nearly 13 million volunteers and diverted 250 million pounds of trash from the ocean globally. An estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic waste flows into the ocean annually, causing harm to wildlife, polluting beaches and even permeating food from the ocean. Scientists predict that without concerted global action, there could be one ton of plastic for every three tons of fin fish in the ocean by 2025. The International Coastal Cleanup and other Ocean Conservancy programs aim to roll back the hazardous effects of ocean pollution.
In addition to encouraging American Express employees to volunteer during the International Coastal Cleanup, Ocean Conservancy and American Express will arrange five Coastal Cleanup events, where approximately 1,500 American Express employees are expected to participate. These events will be held in Sunrise, Fla., (September 29) and Rockaway Beach, N.Y. (October 9). Other events are slated in Rome; Sydney; and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in October and November.
As part of its corporate responsibility program, American Express stated it backs initiatives that preserve natural resources and limit the environmental impact of its operations. In 2017, the company:
- Reduced its carbon footprint for scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50 percent compared to 2011.
- Achieved carbon neutrality for its employee business travel emissions (third-party air, rail and rental cars) through carbon offsets.
- Used renewable energy to power the company’s U.S. data centers and New York City headquarters, including through purchased renewable energy certificates.
- Operated in green buildings—more than 45 percent of the company’s global real estate footprint was green building certified.
- Provided $3.9 million in support of the environment and wildlife through the company’s Gift Matching and Serve2Gether programs.