Blue Business of the Year Finalists:

Award Recipient
Brightmark - San Francisco, California

Aside from the much needed removal of plastics, Brightmark is also leading the way in educating our youth and engaging them in ocean conservation. Teaming up with the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, the Brightmark team has developed classroom curriculums and activities for students to learn about and address ocean pollution issues. They have also sponsored the Frost Science Museum Volunteers for the Environment programs helping to clean up and restore south Florida shorelines.

Brightmark has recycled 4 million pounds of plastic that would have normally ended up in our landfills, oceans, and waterways, and would harm the marine life that depends on these vital ecosystems. Brightmark has also offset more than 300,000 tons of CO2 through its renewable gas projects. Brightmark partners with organizations including Net Your Problem and NOAA who are dedicated to removing waste and plastics from bodies of water. Brightmark is on a mission to “Create A World Without Waste.” By following this mantra, the company seeks to instill this way of thinking into every project and investment it makes, no matter how big or small. The company actively seeks out partnerships where they can do more together. These synergies include partnering with RecycleForce and Northeast Indiana Solid Waste Management District. 

Through a partnership with Jamar Healthcare, Brightmark will recycle and convert Jamar’s proprietary plastics slide sheets into low-carbon fuel and building blocks for circular plastics. As a company, Brightmark encourages its employees to volunteer their time for causes that match Brightmark’s motto and offers 1 week of paid time off for volunteering for every employee annually. Wanting to create solutions that recapture value from waste and reuses those resources through the circular economy, Brightmark focuses on two pillars: plastics renewal and anaerobic digestion. Brightmark’s proprietary plastics renewal process solves the challenges historically associated with recycling plastic. The company takes plastics from all streams – 1 thru 7 – that would historically end up in landfills and marine environments and converts them into useful new material, like fuel, wax, and new plastics. This process is built to cut into the staggering eight million tons of plastic that escapes into the ocean every year. Brightmark’s anaerobic digestion process reduces the amount of dangerous greenhouse gasses, like methane, that escape into the atmosphere by capturing animal & organic waste from our partner’s sites and turning it into outputs that include heat, power, renewable natural gas, fertilizer and water. This process can be especially effective in reducing toxic algae blooms that emerge as climate change heats the planet.

Rothy's - San Francisco, California

Rothy’s, based in San Francisco manufactures shoes, bags and  accessories made entirely of recycled, natural or renewable materials. Rothy’s corporate mantra states: Circularity is the future of sustainability.” They describe circularity as a continuous loop that renews itself, from material and manufacturing to product and recycling.

Rothy's vision is to use twice-recycled materials in new products-to close the loop, like natures does. Rothy's three sustainability pillars are: 1) Products with purpose-thoughtfully made from recycled, natural or renewable materials. 2) Principled production-by owning their own factory, they’re positioned to set best-in-class environmental and social standards in pursuit of a zero-waste future. 3) For people and the planet-they are only as sustainable as the wellness of their people and communities, so their work environments are built on inclusivity and collaboration.

More than 125 million single-use plastic bottles have been turned into Rothy’s signature thread which is used to manufacture their products. 400,000 pounds of ocean bound marine plastic has been repurposed to knit bags and accessories. This plastic was collected from land within 30 miles of coastlines.

Rothy’s uses algae-based foam for their shoe footbeds. By using this renewable resource they can help keep algae from overtaking waterways. The Rothy’s signature outsoles are made with 35% natural and renewable materials and minerals, the insoles contain 30% biobased material and recycled rubber. All Rothy products are fully machine washable which allows them to be used for many years. The boxes are made with 95% post-consumer recycled materials and are strong enough to ship on their own. Rothy’s believes in doing things differently, and knows there’s a better way to do business, and it starts by putting the planet and its people first.

Seaworthy Collective - Miami, Florida

Daniel Kleinman is the Founder and CEO of Seaworthy Collective and Seaworthy Foundation, and a marine roboticist. Throughout his career, Daniel experienced significant barriers to pursue his passion for innovation driving ocean and climate impact across public and private sectors and academia.

Seaworthy Collective and Seaworthy Foundation (501c3) envision oceans of opportunity without barriers, where everyone can contribute to solutions and systems for reversing marine degradation and climate change. Our mission is to enable access and inclusion in the global ocean and climate startup ecosystem. We mobilize untapped talent and ideas by building, educating, activating, and scaling our community. We empower sea change makers – current and aspiring entrepreneurs across diverse backgrounds and verticals – who drive innovation for 71% of the planet (our ocean) to regenerate 100% of the planet.

Seaworthy’s community programs have amassed a global network of 2250 members, 250 mentors and collaborators, and investing partners with over $1.4 billion in assets. Seaworthy’s social and educational programs, led by the Sea Change Makers Speaker Series, have educated 2370 people over 31 panels in 2 years. Seaworthy’s startup programs, with its flagship venture studio program, have supported 20 startups and 48 founders across 4 continents, including 4 co-created startups in 2 cohorts. Seaworthy startups have raised $6.5 million within 1 year of graduating, with 35% of founders coming from underrepresented backgrounds.

Seaworthy’s startup programs activate communities to co-create and grow scalable companies and impact while accelerating economic development and environmental regeneration. Our flagship startup program is our venture studio, a twelve-week deep dive that activates our community to co-create individual solutions by building interdisciplinary teams, while also co-creating systems of solutions with existing startups. The program drives traction and collaboration as well as regenerative ocean and climate impact across six verticals including biodiversity, water quality, coastal resilience, greenhouse gas reduction and removal, plastic reduction and removal, and measurement, reporting, and verification. Our startups have raised over $6.5 million within one year of completing our venture studio program, and over 35% of our founders have come from underrepresented backgrounds.