ARE YOU READY TO #UNWRAPTHEFUTURE?

The Prize

In 2020, Tom Ford partnered with Lonely Whale to launch the TOM FORD Plastic Innovation Prize, the only global competition focused on catalyzing scalable and biologically degradable alternatives to thin-film plastic polybags. To coincide with the launch and to further the commitment to ocean health, in November 2020, TOM FORD TIMEPIECES debuted its first Ocean Plastic timepiece, the first luxury timepiece made from 100% ocean plastic.

The TOM FORD Plastic Innovation Prize offers a purse totaling more than $1.2 million. Winners will be announced in Spring 2023, and Prize winners will receive significant support from Lonely Whale and other partners in the following years to achieve market adoption.

Prize Finalists Announced

We’re proud to announce that the following 8 applicants have been selected as Finalists of the TOM FORD Plastic Innovation Prize.

Scarborough, ON Canada

@genecis_bioindustries

Genecis is a Canadian biotechnology company that reprograms bacteria to make premium materials from low-value organic waste.

Bath, United Kingdom

@wearekelpi

Kelpi is a sustainable biotech company from Bath, UK harnessing the properties of seaweed to create compostable, marine-safe, low-carbon bioplastic packaging.

Kisumu, Kenya

@lwandabiotech

Lwanda Biotech is a Kenyan-based social enterprise addressing both community-level plastic pollution and agricultural waste through development of alternatives to thin-film plastic packaging.

Reykjavík, Iceland

@mareaiceland

Marea is an Icelandic start-up leveraging sustainable local algae streams to create a replicable model for thin-film alternatives that fully biodegrade.

London, United Kingdom

@notpla

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

Berkeley, CA United States

@swaythefuture

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

Cambridge, United Kingdom

@XamplaUK

Xampla is a University of Cambridge spinout inspired by the strength of spider silk, turning proteins, from common plant sources like peas, into high-performance plastic-alternative materials.

Gurgaon, India

@GoZerocircle

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.

THE PROBLEM WITH
THIN-FILM PLASTIC

Thin-film describes the shroud of plastic at the edge of human experience. Globally, humans are estimated to use over 300 billion polybags and single-use, resealable sandwich and storage bags (SRPBs) every year. These bags are almost impossible to recycle — they end up in landfills or on the ground and in our ocean. 

Thin-film enters our lives for a minute, yet continues on as waste, never truly disappearing or recycled. 

  • Plastic films make up 5 million metric tons of ocean leakage, or a full 46% of all ocean plastic leakage.
  • It is estimated that there are 14 million metric tons of plastic on the ocean floor today that will be nearly impossible to extract.
  • 11 million metric tons of new plastic enters the ocean every year. That number is expected to almost triple to 29 million metric tons by 2040 — the equivalent of 241 Washington Monuments.,
  • Plastic in the ocean will only continue to endanger countless species and ecosystems already affected by increased warming, acidification, and other stressors.

PRIZE JUDGES

Judges for the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize serve as a high-level review body tasked with selecting competitors best positioned for growth, composed of industry leaders, influencers, and scientists who will champion market adoption of thin-film alternatives.

TOM FORD

CEO AND FOUNDER, TOM FORD

Tom Ford was born in Austin, Texas prior to moving to New York City and Paris to study design. In 1990, Ford joined Gucci as the company’s chief womenswear designer before becoming Creative Director in 1994, ultimately becoming vice chairman. Under Ford’s leadership, Gucci became one of the largest and most profitable luxury brands in the world, with sales increasing from 230 million dollars in 1994 to 3 billion dollars in 2003.  Ford resigned from his post in 2004 and announced the creation of TOM FORD in April 2005. Today, the brand offers a complete collection of Menswear, Womenswear, Accessories, Eyewear, Beauty and most recently Underwear and Timepieces. Presently there are over 100 freestanding TOM FORD stores and shop-in-shops in locations around the world.  In addition to his achievements within the fashion industry, Ford is also an award-winning screenwriter, producer, and film director.  Tom Ford has redefined luxury. He is a visionary and his success has been recognized by a number of international awards, highlighted by winning seven Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Awards, including their prestigious Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 and The Menswear Designer of the Year in 2015. In 2019, Mr. Ford took over as Chairman of the CFDA.  Ford currently lives in Los Angeles.

JAMES ANDREWS

Founder of Authenticated Ventures

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

Vice President of Sustainable Product, Nike

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

HEAD OF SUSTAINABILITY, ROTHY’S

DANNI WASHINGTON

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

MELATI WIJSEN

FOUNDER OF YOUTHTOPIA AND BYE BYE PLASTIC BAGS

SCIENTIFIC & TECHNICAL ADVISORY BOARD

The Prize Scientific & Technical Advisory Board is tasked with ensuring winning solutions meet clear environmental standards at both production and end-of-life and are positioned for market adoption by meeting performance and scalability criteria.

TOM BEBIEN

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

Director, Technology and Innovation, Minderoo Foundation

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

HEAD OF INVESTMENTS, SKY OCEAN VENTURES

J. R. SIEGEL

SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGIST, WRITER, AND BUSINESS LEADER

BOB TEASLEY

DIRECTOR OF SUPPLY MANAGEMENT, MILLERKNOLL

PRIZE INVESTMENT ALLIANCE

The Prize Investment Alliance consists of business and technology leaders with expertise in venture capital, finance, impact investing, entrepreneurship, marketing, and technology commercialization. The Alliance will advise the Judges on the business model, market viability, and financing of finalist submissions, and will help provide investment capital for the prize winners. 

MATT GROSSMAN

Chief Executive Officer and Manager of ALG Investment Management, LLC

MATT SECHREST

Co-Founder and Managing Partner, North Equity LLC

Early Adopter Coalition

The Early Adopter Coalition has agreed to test finalist materials within their supply chain in an effort to eliminate thin-film plastic permanently. Are you interested in joining the coalition? Let us know!

Material Testing Partners

An integral part of the TOM FORD Plastic Innovation Prize is the year-long 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 will also lead 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.

Questions? Email us at info@plasticprize.org