The announcement comes amid a wave of plastic recovery programs in beauty, which itself generates significant amounts of plastic waste.
The Amika-4Ocean partnership will reportedly "clean more than 100,000 pounds of plastic from oceans, rivers, and coastlines around the world," per an official announcement.
The removal will serve to preserve the environment, fishing industries (and the protein calories so many humans depend on) and tourism.
In its seven years of existence, 4Ocean claims to have removed in excess of 29 million pounds of plastic waste and other trash from coastlines, oceans and rivers.
Amika's participation in 4Ocean's corporate partnership program is part of a larger transition toward a circular economy, tapping regenerative economic practices to minimize waste, maximize resource efficiency, and promote sustainability by designing products, processes, and business models that make it possible for brands to use their resources in a continuous loop without degradation or loss of value.
“We're excited to partner with Amika in our commitment to a cleaner ocean," says Alex Schulze, CEO of 4Ocean. "Amika's dedication as a sustainable hair care company aligns seamlessly with our values. This collaboration is a powerful step towards a greener future, making a real impact on our environment. Our joint initiative extends beyond the removal of ocean waste; it's about setting a precedent for industry-wide collaboration and responsible business practices. We thank Amika for joining us on this vital mission."
In an exclusive interview, Amika's head of ESG, Jamie Richards, discusses the new partnership.
Why did Amika feel it was important to help tackle plastic waste in the environment?
Richards: Plastic is abundant, simple fact, and we use it in our own packaging, albeit PCR, but we know that there are many areas in the world with disproportionate plastic pollution. Believe it or not, this pollution is not usually from manufacturing sites, it’s typically coming from ocean current circulation or lack of recycling infrastructure, but no matter how it got there, it’s there. Amika has the means to help alleviate even a small percentage of this problem, so we are. We simply feel like it’s our responsibility to do so.
What made 4ocean the ideal partner?
Richards: 4Oceans is a certified cleanup partner which means the proof is the pudding sort of mantra. Truth be told, we found them to be the ideal partner because not only does 4Oceans help cleanup oceans, but they provide continued economic viability to the cleanup area. 4Oceans pay fishermen salaries to fish for plastic since they can no longer traditionally fish for fish, but no matter how much plastic they pull, even if it’s nothing, they still receive a salary. This combination of environment and social support is something we always look for in our sustainability partnerships, you cannot have one without the other.
What steps has Amika taken to keep its own packaging from winding up in the environment?
Richards: We have incorporated high volumes of PCR or post-consumer recycled plastic into the entirety of our plastic packaging. PCR takes plastic that has already been in the supply chain and melts it down so it can be used again, and again, and again! It requires much less energy compared to virgin plastics and diverts waste from landfills. Our packaging ranges from 50% to 90% PCR and we are always actively working to increase this percentage.
From a wider perspective, what are Amika's key ESG goals and partnerships?
Richards: I always struggle to answer this question because while we have to have goals, the main goal is to fully integrate ESG (environment social governance) into the entirety of our business. We have done an excellent job thus far and have truthfully integrated these business considerations across our entire value chain.
We do a lot, so one of our main ESG goals is to successfully communicate all that we are doing in a relatable way. We account for all our emissions, from ingredients to emails, responsibly source ingredients, optimize packaging, reach Net Zero by 2035, and we build strategic partnerships that align with our own mission.
From a partnership lens, we are focusing on partnerships that not only address the environment but environmental justice as well. We find that this area of ESG needs more attention and understanding.
How is the partnership being rolled out in social media and marketing pushes? How will the partner badge be deployed?
Richards: We will be sharing information about our partnership across all external channels—including our website, social media accounts, content creator partners, and marketing emails—so that our community is informed about not only our sustainability efforts as a brand, but is also introduced to 4Ocean and their powerful mission.