There is hope for the environment and the maritime industry! Tore Strand, Business Manager for Ropes with Wilhelmsen, the multinational maritime group based in Lysaker, Norway, has developed a new venture called “BlueNGreen” that is set to revolutionize the way the industry deals with the 10,000 tons of used mooring ropes it produces each year. And Tore did it with the encouragement and support of the Executive Growth Alliance (EGA).
For years, Tore was troubled by the fact that large mooring ropes used on container ships and other vessels eventually end up in landfills or oceans, part of an estimated eight million metric tons of plastic entering our oceans each year. In a traditional cost-competitive industry, the problem seemed insurmountable.
Tore initially piloted a sensor solution that would determine when mooring ropes had reached the end of their life cycle and needed replacement, usually within three to seven years. This created awareness of the magnitude of the challenge; however, gaining ship-owner adoption of a digital solution was challenging. This led to an idea: what if there was an option for retired rope to be collected for recycling and reuse instead of incineration, or disposal in landfills or the ocean?
Tore brought the challenge of ‘how to gain leadership support for a broad circularity initiative’ to the Executive Growth Circle. With encouragement from the other leaders, Tore was given a year to pilot the initiative with a goal to reclaim and repurpose used ropes on a global scale — to make a meaningful difference.
Tore came to the EGC seeking input on how to create a sense of urgency and change among the company leadership to create a space for his circular project. He didn’t want to stop with just ropes – he wanted a solution that would help to recycle all the waste generated aboard ships. Within a year he completed a successful pilot program, and with support from fellow EGA members, Tore went to the Wilhelmsen Innovation Board and achieved his biggest success yet — securing funding for a new business venture called BlueNGreen (green solutions for the blue economy).
Today he is CEO of the new circularity venture company co-owned by Wilhelmsen, Tore and his two team members. They are aiming to generate $1 million in revenue in the next year through waste handling charges, the sale of recycled products, and the sale of CO2 offset certificates. And this is just the start.
“Rope is just one stream of marine litter,” he said. “If we can show how retired ropes can be used for new applications, then we can show the path for reusing other types of marine litter — batteries, paint, oil, etc. Thanks to the support of EGA, I have the opportunity of a lifetime – to make a real difference for the environment.”