Loggerhead Marinelife Center Launches ‘Choice Matters’ Sustainable Commerce Program
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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. For more information or gift inspiration, please visit LMC’s online store.
Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) is a nonprofit sea turtle research, rehabilitation and educational institution that promotes conservation of ocean ecosystems with a focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. The Center features an on-site hospital, research laboratory, educational exhibits and aquariums, and also operates the Juno Beach Pier, which hosts world-class angling and sightseeing. Situated on one of the world’s most important sea turtle nesting beaches, Loggerhead Marinelife Center is open daily and hosts over 360,000 guests free-of-charge each year. The Center’s conservation team works with 90 local and international organizations across six continents to form partnerships and share conservation initiatives and best practices that are core to its mission of ocean conservation. The Center is expanding and has launched its Waves of Progress capital expansion campaign, designed to accelerate and amplify LMC’s conservation and education impact. For more information, visit www.marinelife.org or call (561) 627-8280.
Public Relations and Engagement Specialist