Ambassadors speak up: De Plastic S(l)oep

Since 2019, NN Group has been a proud supporter of Plastic Whale as they battle against plastic pollution. The goal of the collaboration? Increase awareness of the problem. As part of those efforts, NN made it possible for Plastic Whale to produce a video: De Plastic S(l)oep. The name combines the Dutch words for ‘soup’ and ‘small motor boat’. In this way, it addresses both the problem, and Plastic Whale’s solution in a single title. In the online video, investigative journalist Jeroen Smit meets four future role models who are fighting to reduce plastic usage. They each discuss their battles to reduce the rapidly growing mass of plastic soup.

Plastic soup

More people than ever are aware of the consequences of plastic waste. And that’s a great start, but we need to do more – and soon. Every year, across the globe, around $100 billion worth of plastic is thrown away. Since all those bottles, straws and toothbrushes don’t degrade, the plastic soup continues to grow more and more. So awareness is becoming more important every day. 

Plastic Whale finds exciting ways to get people to actively contribute to plastic soup reduction. It organises plastic ‘fishing trips’ and even creates economic value from plastic waste. The organisation makes beautiful boats (called sloeps) and office furniture from the plastic it collects. It is also committed to raising awareness about the effects of plastic use. 

De Plastic S(l)oep tells Saskia, Lars, Nicholas and Eric’s inspirational stories. Jeroen Smit sails through the canals in Amsterdam in a Plastic Whale boat made of the waste that was fished out of those very same canals. Along the way, Jeroen picks up these young ambassadors, who are each tackling the plastic issue in his or her own way. Not only does each of the four help us see the urgency of the situation, but also they are proof that together, we can make things happen. 

Want to see more?

De Plastic S(l)oep (with English subtitles) is available for public viewing below.. Those who are inspired to take immediate action after watching the film can find practical tips on the Plastic Whale website, and can learn how to join Plastic Whale’s mission (in Dutch). All are welcome to join.

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What else has NN done?

Our partnership with Plastic Whale has yielded great results. For example, NN Group enabled Plastic Whale to build an NN boat made entirely out of recycled PET bottles.  Plastic Whale’s expeditions to ‘fish’ all the plastic out of Amsterdam’s canals have taken place in the NN boat since September 2019.  

Our partnership with Plastic Whale, and our signing of the NN Plastic Pledge in 2019, are both part of NN Group’s broader initiative to make our own office environment more sustainable. The NN Plastic Pledge expresses our ambition to eliminate single-use plastics or replace them with alternatives. NN also strives to create awareness among employees and to work with suppliers to encourage the sustainable use of, or alternatives to, plastic. The motto is: refuse, reduce and recycle! 

Circular office furniture

Some time ago, NN Group was also Plastic Whale’s launching partner for Vepa, a line of completely circular office furniture. The furniture is made, in part, from plastic fished out of Amsterdam’s canals, and thereby directly addresses the plastic soup problem. What makes the production process so unique is the fact that Plastic Whale itself collects all of the raw materials for the furniture production. In 2018, NN Group installed one of these circular boardroom tables and accompanying chairs at its headquarters in The Hague. We are currently working on additional sustainable and circular renovations at our office locations. 

Investment in plastics

NN Investment Partners (NN IP), NN Group’s investment branch, is also committed to fighting plastic pollution. NN IP has identified three important focus areas in order to stimulate investors to consider changes to the ways plastics are used.

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