The more I learn about Starboard, the more I admire its founder, Svein Rasmussen. His commitment to “blue life” choices goes far beyond the personal and influences everything involved in the corporate presence of Starboard. (excellent interview here) Svein shares this, “The oceans where we practice watersports regulate the climate and house 99% of the biosphere, controlling the weather and providing oxygen for every breath we take.” From planting mangroves, education the next generation of stewards to reducing plastic and carbon footprint in every aspect of Starboard’s processes, Svein innovates and inspires consistently.
A title that matters to Svein is that of “Chief Innovator” and in that role his life is focused on drilling into every little part of the Starboard organization, trying to make it better. Svein explains, “Starboard is a product driven company so I spend most of my time driving the product development and environmental strategies together with our British product manager Ollie O’Reilly. We have been ahead of the curve in terms of shapes and technology and often create what we call 100% market share, meaning during the first year there simply is no similar product in the market.”
Innovation does not end with “first to market.” Svein hopes to make Starboard a truly influential company where short term profit comes second to creating a better tomorrow for all of us. He doesn’t keep his innovations in that area to himself. Rather, Svein is a global leader.
Recently (May 2018) Svein Rasmussen, shared some tough truths about plastic pollution in the ocean and in our lives with the members of the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand — and encouraged them to take the lead in the industry change. His message was loud and clear as he encouraged others to join Starboard and pioneer the change to a more sustainable way to do business. After all, he posed this crucial question, “Do governments produce plastic? Do waste managers produce trash? Commerce produce plastic trash and is ultimately responsible.”
Some suggestions offered are important steps that should be in discussion in every corporation and workplace –
- Start with the office. No single-use plastics allowed at work.
- Motivate and encourage your employees to be part of the movement.
- Calculate your carbon emissions and plastic use, then reduce it.
- Reinvent your business to reduce the overall waste and the dependence on primary materials and energy.
- Start seeing the economic and social benefits.
It takes a village, it takes a team. Recognizing the work of others comes naturally for Svein. In discussing where Starboard has come Svein gives heartfelt thanks to people like Ollie O’Reilly for driving our awesome eco board projects and Starboard’s partners Parley, SUP Kids, Sustainable Surf, Watertrek and Arne Fjoertoft at the Thor Heyerdahl Mangrove Park
We can all recognize steps toward a solution that align with our area of influence and location. It might seem that planting a mangrove is a small thing, but when doen in cooperation with others the impact is powerful. Most of us are unaware of the impact of a mangrove. Here is why Svein cares so much, “Mangroves have a vital role in protection of lives and properties in vulnerable coastal communities from tsunamis and extreme weather. Mangroves increase sea food stocks up to 50% and have several important features that help curb climate change.”
Let’s be individually and collectively inspired by this visionary leader and waterman, Svein Rasmussen.
A video of a visionary
Corporations with a conscience and true commitment to saving our Oceans “walk the talk,” and that is not easy.
In addition to creating Gold Standard products, Starboard is involved with several initiatives to reduce their footprint and impact on the environment:
- Carbon Net Positive – Thor Heyerdahl Mangrove Park in Myanmar
- Plastic Disclosure Project
- SUP kids education program.
- Education of local schools about plastic issues.
- Sustainably-built offices at Starboard HQ, including solar power.
- Frequent community cleanups
- Partners for the Oceans with Sustainable Surf, Parley, Trash Hero and Watertrek.
- Political lobbying for stricter plastic policies in ASEAN.
- Starboard conducts full Life Cycle Analysis of their company’s carbon footprint availablehere.
Starboard is taking responsibility for its role in the plastic industry by offsetting their plastic footprint. This involves calculating exactly how much plastic goes into production and are now removing 48 metric tons of ocean plastic in 2018 to create a positive impact on the planet – instead of a negative one. For every board sold – Starboard collects 2 kg of ocean plastic. Starboard’s Plastic Offset Program funds local cleanups and puts a financial value on discarded plastic.
Who can YOU talk to at work, among your social and SUP circles, within community organizations. Be the inspiration and innovation!