Biological Sciences graduate Ben Moody helped to set up an environmental start-up organisation called Seven Clean Seas. The company are based in Singapore and also operate in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Ben Moody's story:
The purpose of Seven Clean Seas is to inspire the next generation of environmental activists to take action and save our planet. Our mission is to clean and build infrastructure in the top seven most polluted countries in the world. At Seven Clean Seas we work hands-on to create permanent change in the world's most polluted places.
Seven Clean Seas was originally founded in 2018, beginning as a small voluntary beach cleaning community to educate and spread the word on plastic pollution. Since then Seven Clean Seas has built a plastic fighting community working with some world renowned corporations such as Netflix, HP, SkyScanner, Ogilvy, Amazon WS, BBH and many many more. To date, it has removed over 54,000kg plastic pollution from the marine environment by mobilising volunteers and corporate manpower.
I joined Tom and Pam after they originally founded Seven Clean Seas in 2018. Beyond our educational community beach clean-ups, Seven Clean Seas is now combating the plastic pollution problem on a larger scale. It is now expanding capabilities to build an environmental plastic recovery network, which recovers plastic from the marine environment and works toward formalising the informal waste management sector and satisfies both social and environmental UN Sustainable Development Goals simultaneously. Tom and I believe in creating a sustainable business model to retrieve plastic from the ocean. The plastic issue is gargantuan and we need scale to be able to tackle it efficiently. Ocean Plastic Offsetting merely helps to mobilise corporate capital to drive the removal of plastic from the ocean.
Life in a start-up
The best and worst thing about owning your own business is being your own 'boss'. This aspect means that there is a huge lack of structure in your life. I think I can speak on behalf of Tom on this, you need to find your own discipline not only to motivate yourself to work but also to know when to just stop and give yourself some time to chill-out. Finding your own balance through this is very key as well. When we are extremely busy with meetings and early mornings, it's difficult to even try and set up a regular routine, as you just have no idea what the next day will involve. With this constant change, switching off "after hours" is difficult as you constantly want to work and keep progressing the company as much as you can.
This aspect has actually gotten a lot harder since COVID-19 stopped operations and slowed everything down. Reworking and pivoting the business to adapt to certain changes has been our focus recently, despite this we are really excited for what we're about to produce. I guess this is not one thing I wish I knew before starting a business venture but it's one thing I wish I knew when I left university. I think there is a lot of pressure to fall into a 'run of the mill grad-scheme' once you leave. But, you have all the time in the world and I think trying everything that springs into mind is so important before you settle into one career path.
Another take away from Seven Clean Seas is that patience is everything, especially under the current circumstances (COVID-19). Patience, is one thing I struggle with and will always struggle with. When you are building something, it takes time to get to where you see the vision in your head. For example, tackling plastic pollution is a huge issue and if I just make sure I do something every day to make sure I'm driving SCS to the place where Tom and I envisage we'll get there eventually.