Sustainable Commerce: Choice Matters

Sustainable Commerce: Choice Matters

Posted by Loggerhead Marinelife Center on 28th Apr 2020

As a state-of-the-art sea turtle hospital and ocean conservation hub, we see the impacts of single-use plastics and marine debris first hand. Unfortunately, almost 100 percent of the sea turtles that arrive to our Center have ingested or have become entangled in marine debris. And during our underwater and beach cleanups, we remove hundreds of thousands of pieces of marine debris each year.

In 2019, Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) removed over 209,314 pieces of marine debris during our conservation efforts. While these pieces include commonly found items, such as balloons, plastic utensils, and tooth brushes, it also includes shoes, backpacks and soccer balls. At LMC, we not only use the data we collect to provide government and scientific organizations to help inform conservation decisions, we often create programs or initiatives in response to the issues we encounter.

Loggerhead Marinelife Center regularly finds pieces of single-use plastic during its conservation efforts.
Loggerhead Marinelife Center regularly finds pieces of single-use plastic during its conservation efforts.

Taking Action

In response to the amount of debris we collect during our conservation initiatives and issues we’ve identified with the retail industry, we developed our sustainable commerce program, Choice Matters. Launched on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, this program is designed to help consumers select socially responsible items when shopping at LMC.

“Over the course of the past few years, we’ve tried to leverage our retail efforts to promote a sustainable and socially responsible lifestyle,” said Director of Retail Operations, Kate Fratalia. “We’ve not only expanded our retail efforts to focus on sustainable items, but we have also guided vendors in adopting more sustainable practices with their materials and shipping practices.”

Loggerhead Marinelife Center uses its retail operations to spark conversations of sustainable commerce.
Loggerhead Marinelife Center uses its retail operations to spark conversations of sustainable commerce.

Choice Matters

While the retail industry is becoming more sustainably minded, it’s still a large source of waste, especially due to the amount of non-sustainable packaging used in the industry. To combat these issues, LMC works with its vendors to encourage vendors to use minimal and sustainable packaging when providing items to LMC. This includes not accepting items wrapped in plastic, and opting for packaging that is made out of post-consumer or compostable materials. Additionally, LMC’s retail team opts for locally sourced items when possible to reduce carbon emissions.

All purchases made through LMC’s retail outlets directly support sea turtle and ocean conservation, however the sustainable commerce program takes this one step further. The newly rolled-out program focuses on highlighting items in one of three categories (Made In The USA, Reduced Waste, or Responsible Sourcing), as well as items made out of sustainable materials such as bamboo and 100 percent cotton.

Loggerhead Marinelife Center launched its Choice Matters, sustainable commerce program on Earth Day 2020.

Since our Center is currently closed to the public, we have launched the program on our online store, however when the Center re-opens to the public, we will implement the program on our campuses. To assist consumers with making socially responsible choices, the program uses colored icons to indicate the category of the product.

  • Made In The USA (Blue): Indicates items that have been made in the United States. LMC prefers to source items from local vendors and artists, but also includes items from regional vendors and artists.
  • Reduced Waste (Green): Indicates items that have been created with reduced waste, including reusable, recyclable, repurposed, and compostable materials. 
  • Responsible Sourcing (Orange): Indicates items that are responsibly sourced and support fair trade, help employ underdeveloped communities or donate to specific causes.

Sustainable Commerce

For LMC, the Choice Matters program is only the start of its sustainable commerce practices. As our Center expands, its retail operations will continue to progress and refine its conservation programs. “We hope to continue to help improve the retail industry to ensure vendors and consumers have access to sustainable and socially responsible packaging and items,” commented Fratalia.

While the Center is closed to the public, we will utilize our online store and curbside pickup option. Currently, we are processing and shipping orders within one to two business days. Amid COVID-19, the Retail Department is taking extra safety precautions while fulfilling orders.

Loggerhead Marinelife Center's retail operations offers sustainable commerce selections for consumers.
Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s retail operations offers sustainable commerce selections for consumers.

As consumers, it is our choice to improve the health of our planet and revolutionize the retail industry. Let Choice Matters guide you in living a more socially responsible lifestyle.