About the Program

IN 2020, LONELY WHALE LAUNCHED UNWRAP THE FUTURE, A THREE-PHASED, MULTI-YEAR PROGRAM WITH AN AMBITIOUS MISSION: VET AND SCALE MARINE-SAFE ALTERNATIVES TO TRADITIONAL THIN-FILM PLASTIC, NEARLY HALF OF ANNUAL OCEAN PLASTIC POLLUTION.

RECOGNIZED AS WINNER OF THE 2024 SXSW INNOVATION AWARD IN THE CLIMATE CHANGE CATEGORY.

Phase I

The Plastic Innovation Prize

In 2020, Tom Ford partnered with Lonely Whale to launch the TOM FORD Plastic Innovation Prize, the only global competition focused on creating scalable and biologically degradable alternatives to traditional thin-film plastic polybags. Winners of the TOM FORD Plastic Innovation Prize were announced on March 9, 2023, at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards by Prize founder, Tom Ford. The $1.2 million Prize Purse is a combination cash prize and direct investment presented by Title Sponsors TOM FORD BEAUTY and The Estée Lauder Companies, and Trousdale Ventures, the exclusive venture capital partner of the Prize.

Grand Prize Winners

FIRST PLACE WINNER

Sway is an American company offering seaweed-based, home-compostable replacements for thin-film plastic packaging, aiming to offer a regenerative material at scale.

Bay Area, CA United States
@swaythefuture

SECOND PLACE WINNER

Zerocircle is an India-based company making wildlife and ocean-safe packaging materials from locally cultivated seaweed that will dissolve harmlessly in the ocean after use.

Gurgaon, India
@zerocircle_in

THIRD PLACE WINNER

Notpla is a London-based start-up inspired by the way nature encapsulates liquids. They are on a mission to make plastic waste disappear by pioneering natural-membrane packaging that uses seaweed as an alternative to single-use plastic.

London, United Kingdom
@notpla

Phase II

THE PLASTIC INNOVATION ACCELERATOR

SPONSORED BY TOM FORD BEAUTY AND THE ESTÉE LAUDER COMPANIES, THE TOM FORD PLASTIC INNOVATION ACCELERATOR POWERED BY LONELY WHALE IS CREATING CATALYTIC COLLABORATIONS TO ADVANCE MARKET ADOPTION OF PRIZE-WINNING, SEAWEED-BASED PLASTIC ALTERNATIVES DEVELOPED BY SWAY, ZEROCIRCLE, AND NOTPLA.

Title Partners

Early Adopters

Prize Judges

Tom Ford

Founder, Tom Ford

DON CHEADLE

GOLDEN GLOBE WINNING ACTOR, CLIMATE SOLUTIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATE

AUDREY CHOI

SENIOR ADVISOR AND FORMER CHIEF SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER, MORGAN STANLEY

LIVIA FIRTH

MBE, ACTIVIST, PRODUCER, FOUNDER AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF ECO-AGE

JOHN JOHN FLORENCE

TWO-TIME WORLD CHAMPION SURFER, OLYMPIAN, AND FOUNDER OF FLORENCE MARINE X

DR. ANDREW FORREST

FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN OF FORTESCUE METALS GROUP AND MINDEROO FOUNDATION

ELLEN JACKOWSKI

CHIEF SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER AND EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, MASTERCARD

JOE KUDLA

FOUNDER & CEO, VUORI

STEVEN KOLB

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE COUNCIL OF FASHION DESIGNERS OF AMERICA (CFDA)

STELLA MCCARTNEY

OBE, FASHION DESIGNER, FOUNDER OF
STELLA MCCARTNEY

SUSAN ROCKEFELLER

AWARD-WINNING DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER, ARTIST, CONSERVATIONIST, FOUNDER OF MUSINGS

LIZ RODGERS

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF SUSTAINABLE PRODUCT, NIKE

PHILLIP SAROFIM

FOUNDER AND MANAGING PARTNER, TROUSDALE VENTURES, LLC

TRUDIE STYLER

ACTRESS, FILM PRODUCER, DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST, ENVIRONMENTALIST, UNICEF AMBASSADOR, ORGANIC FARMER AND WINEMAKER

TOM SZAKY

FOUNDER AND CEO OF TERRACYCLE

SASKIA VAN GENDT

Chief Sustainability Officer at Blue Yonder

DANNI WASHINGTON

SCIENCE COMMUNICATOR AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE BIG BLUE & YOU

MELATI WIJSEN

FOUNDER OF YOUTHTOPIA AND BYE BYE
PLASTIC BAGS

SCIENTIFIC & TECHNICAL ADVISORY BOARD

TOM BÉBIEN

RECYCLING MANAGER, PLASTIC ODYSSEY

OLIVER CAMPBELL

DIRECTOR OF PROCUREMENT & PACKAGING ENGINEERING AT DELL TECHNOLOGIES

DR. MARCUS ERIKSEN

RESEARCH DIRECTOR AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE 5 GYRES INSTITUTE

ANDY JOHNSON

PURCHASING DIRECTOR, ROQ US

DR. FABIEN LAURIER

SCIENTIST & TECHNOLOGIST

DR. ERIN MEYER

DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION PROGRAMS AND PARTNERSHIPS, SEATTLE AQUARIUM

ELLIE MOSS

SENIOR ADVISOR, ENCOURAGE CAPITAL

DR. RAMANI NARAYAN

PROFESSOR OF CHEMICAL ENGINEERING AND MATERIALS SCIENCE, MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY

JAMIE ROWLES

CO-FOUNDER & MANAGING PARTNER, 
PLANET FUND

J. R. SIEGEL

SENIOR DIRECTOR, PRODUCT INNOVATION, WORLDLY

BOB TEASLEY

DIRECTOR OF NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT & SUPPLY MANAGEMENT, MILLERKNOLL

STEWART WHITMIRE

VICE PRESIDENT, ATLANTIC PACKAGING CORPORATION

Investment Alliance

MATTHEW GROSSMAN

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AND MANAGER, ALG INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT LLC

MATT SECHREST

CO-FOUNDER AND MANAGING PARTNER, NORTH EQUITY LLC

Testing Partners

An integral part of the TOM FORD Plastic Innovation Prize was the nine-month material testing phase sponsored by Nike. This phase includes field testing in Caribbean waters, in-lab testing led by the New Materials Institute at the University of Georgia, and field testing in Pacific Northwest waters led by the Seattle Aquarium. The Aquarium also led a bespoke, first-of-its-kind laboratory-based modeling designed to approximate the effect of the materials on the health and well-being of marine mammals. Read more about the Material Testing Protocols.

Select Press

About Lonely Whale

LONELY WHALE IS AN AWARD-WINNING NON-PROFIT WHOSE MISSION ENSURES PLASTIC WASTE DOES NOT FIND ITS WAY INTO THE OCEAN. FOUNDED IN 2015 BY ADRIAN GRENIER AND LUCY SUMNER, LONELY WHALE IS FISCALLY SPONSORED BY RE:WILD, AN ORGANIZATION ESTABLISHED BY A GROUP OF RENOWNED CONSERVATION SCIENTISTS AND LEONARDO DICAPRIO TO PROTECT AND RESTORE THE WILD – THE MOST EFFECTIVE SOLUTION TO THE INTERCONNECTED CLIMATE, BIODIVERSITY AND HUMAN HEALTH CRISES.

LONELY WHALE HAS SPEARHEADED IMPACTFUL GLOBAL MOVEMENTS TO RAISE AWARENESS AND OFFER ALTERNATIVES TO PROBLEMATIC PLASTICS, CONVENED A CONSORTIUM OF MULTI-NATIONAL BRANDS TO CREATE THE FIRST GLOBAL NETWORK OF OCEAN-BOUND PLASTIC SUPPLY CHAINS, AND SUPPORTED THE GLOBAL YOUTH MOVEMENT WITH THE TOOLS AND NETWORK NEEDED TO ADVANCE THEIR EFFORTS TO SECURE A FUTURE WITH CLEAN SEAS.

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