American Express Gets Visual on Instagram to Help Eliminate Marine Plastic Pollution

The financial services company and Parley for the Oceans will remove 2 pounds for each comment with the #BackOurOceans hashtag

American Express will donate almost $2 million in grants for educational programming and ocean and river clean ups
American Express

This story is part of a weeklong series on climate change and sustainability. It’s in partnership with Covering Climate Now, a global journalism initiative to cover climate change in the week leading up to the U.N. summit on climate change in New York on Sept. 23. Click here to learn more about the initiative and read all of Adweek’s coverage on how sustainability and marketing intersect.

American Express kicked off several initiatives aimed at eliminating marine plastic pollution, including #BackOurOceans, a social media-driven call to action.

Stinson Parks III, the financial services company’s vice president of global social media communications, said in an email, “Advancing our sustainability initiatives is an area where we’ve made significant progress lately, including becoming a carbon-neutral company and using 100% renewable energy. Along these lines, we’ve continued to see our card members, partners and global colleague base engage with the issue of plastic pollution in our oceans, which is why we are taking another step to help protect our planet with the announcement of a series of initiatives designed to back our oceans.”

With the aim of removing up to 1 million pounds of marine plastic from shorelines, in partnership with nonprofit Parley for the Oceans, American Express said it will tell “a scroll-stopping, disruptive visual story” on Instagram to help raise awareness of the issue.

Starting Monday and running through Sept. 23, Instagrammers can go to the American Express or Parley for the Oceans pages and use the hashtag #BackOurOceans, as well as tag friends.

For each comment, American Express will team up with Parley for the Oceans to remove two pounds of plastic from beaches and coasts, up to 1 million pounds.

American Express/Parley for the Oceans

Parks said, “Our goal is to spark a global conversation and raise awareness around the issue of marine plastic pollution and encourage our communities to take action and #BackOurOceans together. Instagram is a place where we increasingly see our card members and communities engage with and raise awareness for issues they care about. It’s a platform where we can help demonstrate the critical issue of marine plastic pollution in a scroll-stopping, visual way that lends itself to meaningful conversation and action.”

American Express will also share #BackOurOceans content on its other social channels and encourage its partners, merchants, card members and communities to participate in the initiative, as well.

In non-social elements of #BackOurOceans, American Express plans to introduce redesigned consumer and corporate green cards later this year made primarily with reclaimed plastic, and it will start up a card recycling program.

In addition, the financial services company will donate almost $2 million in grants for educational programming and ocean and river clean ups.

Parley for the Oceans founder and CEO Cyrill Gutsch said in an email, “Plastic is a design failure. It stands for the toxic age we created, threatening the future of our oceans and our own species. By making its legendary green card with Parley ocean plastic, American Express introduces another symbol of change—and with it, a powerful commitment and an invitation for everyone to support our movement. Steps like this sound the bells of a new era, a new economy, where harmful substances and exploitative business practices are relics of the past.”

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