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Green project

Earth Day 2024 – another year with Healthy Seas

5 minute read

Earth Day 2024 is coming up, and at Hyundai, we’re excited to kick it off with the news that our partnership with the marine conservation organization Healthy Seas has been extended for another year.
Healthy Seas is an international non-profit organization dedicated to removing and facilitating recycling ocean waste with partners - fostering healthier seas through global partnerships, activities, and educational programs.

Partnering up for progress for humanity

Our partnership with Healthy Seas began in 2021. Since then, we have supported them in their mission to rid the seas of harmful plastic waste. To date, we have joined them in 35 activities in 10 countries involving hundreds of dealers. Approximately 167 volunteer divers have removed more than 106 tons of fishing nets and other marine debris. And that’s just the beginning!
We are committed to fostering greater sustainability through innovation and action. By focusing on creating more sustainable marine ecosystems, we hope to do our part in helping rid the ocean of waste while upcycling waste elements for use as high-quality material, thus advancing the circular economy.

A close-up of a diver's legs with a parked car in the background.

Since our partnership, we have supported Healthy Seas in numerous activities worldwide. From beach cleanups and litter removal in the Atlantic and Pacific to coordinated activities in the Mediterranean, North Sea, and beyond – we are helping advance Healthy Seas' mission of a better future for our oceans. We’re also happy that the momentum is continuing to grow, such is the case of Hyundai Motors North America, which announced its partnership with Healthy Seas and the NGO Ghost Diving USA, both of which are committed to ridding the oceans and beaches of plastic. A beach cleanup event held at Huntington Beach was just the beginning!

Ridding litter from lakes and islands

Healthy Seas isn’t just about oceans – it’s about healthy water ecosystems in general, like lakes and islands. Two examples showcasing this dedication are seen in our cooperation with Healthy Seas and their projects on Lake Ohrid in North Macedonia and on the island of Ithaca in Greece. Both projects aim to rid the waters of harmful pollutants and waste while encouraging biodiversity. Together with Healthy Seas, we will continue to strive for cleaner seas, lakes, rivers, and waterways around the world now and in the future.

A person in close-up pulls an old fishing net out of the water.

Giving ghost nets a new life

The primary focus of Healthy Seas is the removal of so-called "ghost nets," which are responsible for the needless deaths of marine animals every year. Our strong partnership, combined with Ghost Diving volunteer divers worldwide and cooperation with fishing sector stakeholders, is making a positive change. Retrieving ghost nets leaves a positive impact on marine wildlife and the world's maritime ecosystems – but that's just the beginning. Part of Healthy Seas' mission is to get rid of the nets and give them a second life and with their founding partner, Aquafil, purpose them as the high-quality material ECONYL®. As yarn made from waste plastic gathered from old nets and other waste material, ECONYL® can be used to create a multitude of products, including socks, swimwear, sportswear, carpets, and more.

An IONIQ 6 is parked in front of a beach, and people around it are cleaning up the area.
A diver is seen from the perspective of someone sitting in the driver's seat of an IONIQ 6.

From the ocean floor to new floormats

We can think of nothing better than helping give end-of-life materials a new purpose and role in future mobility. That is why our partnership with Healthy Seas not only encompasses ocean cleanups but also ensures, thanks to Aquafil, the practical use of ECONYL® nylon – as a circular material for floormats in our IONIQ 5 and IONIQ 6 vehicles. Floormats made with ECONYL® yarn started as an optional addition and became a standard feature for all EU models since the launch of the IONIQ 6. Hyundai is proud to not only incorporate ECONYL® fiber as a high-quality recycled raw material in its vehicles but also be the only car manufacturer that supports cleanup process and activities.

An IONIQ floormat made with ECONYL® nylon, recycled from old fishing nets, lies on a stone above the ocean waves.

School trips for a sustainable future

As always, Earth Day is a time to appreciate how amazing our world is and commit to fostering positive environmental and social change through projects, action, partnership – or just planting more flowers for the bees in our backyards. At Hyundai, we continue to act in the spirit of Earth Day with programs designed to educate and inspire the next generation.

Excursions with the ecosystem in mind

There is no greater investment towards a more sustainable future than in the youth. As part of our commitment to progress for humanity, our European offices have initiated a number of educational school excursions and activities in conjunction with Healthy Seas. In the UK, this included the "Great British School Trip" as well as a school excursion to the Tate St Ives Museum in Cornwall and the Tate Modern in London. Hyundai France held a plogging race (jogging and picking up litter) for schoolkids in Marseille in 2022, and Hyundai Italy held events in Milan like the Family Day cleanup and educational programs regarding the circular economy. These events are designed to help grow environmental awareness among schoolchildren, foster ocean conservation, and show how waste plastics can be reused and reintroduced to create new value. As a "special guest," a Hyundai IONIQ 5 has often been a part of these events to show children how ocean plastics are already being given a new sustainable role as floormats. Through our efforts, we have helped provide educational activities for 1,725 schoolchildren and adults and will continue to promote educational field trips across Europe and the world.

A diver in his diving suit and mask stands next to an IONIQ 6.

With Re:Style, circularity is always in fashion

Using old nets to create new, high-quality floormats is just the beginning of what is possible if you go straight to circular! An example is our Re:Style platform, which aims to help drive circular thinking while providing fresh perspectives regarding lifestyle and upcycling. The idea originated with the collection of the renowned sustainable fashion advocate Maria Cornejo, who, in 2019, created stylish garments made from recycled car materials. Since then, Re:Style has gained international recognition and has launched its collection featuring garments made from discarded vehicle materials. An example of this collaboration was on full display last year when the legendary fashion icon Jeremy Scott proved that innovative upcycling is always in vogue. He affectionately referred to his collection made from recycled vehicle parts as "car couture," which initially debuted in Seoul and later in all over the world including Amsterdam. The merging of circularity with automotive and fashion proves there is no end to what's possible with end-of-life materials.

A fully-dressed diver sits in the back seat of an IONIQ 6. Outside is another diver.

Earth Day 365 days a year

Earth Day is a time to reflect and think about what every individual can do to play a part in protecting the environment and advancing sustainable practices. We at Hyundai will continue to strive for more progress for humanity through what we produce, promote, and who we work with. This can be seen in our recent business agreement with the city of Ulsan and the Ulsan Fisheries Cooperative, Netspa – a social venture dedicated to upcycling old nets. We also work in close partnership with the non-profit Blue Siren, a marine restoration organization. Blue Siren collects old fishing nets and manages collection sites, while Netspa produces the resulting upcycled material which will be regenerated into new products including automobile parts. Hyundai has designed the project to foster circular economy and is supporting its operation. This partnership, based at Jeongja Port in Ulsan, is a testament to our shared commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship. After all, every day should be Earth Day.

Follow @hyundai on Instagram and see what inspires ghost divers to keep diving.


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