ocg.org

overall rating:

2.5

planets

Zack D. Victorin
7/13/2022
No items found.

Ocean Clean Group (OCG) is a non-profit organization based in Bali, Indonesia, that was founded right before the COVID-19 pandemic in December 2019. Their aim and slogan are “to help everyone make a difference from their homes” through their search engine ocg.org, explicitly assisting in removing plastic pollution from the coast and marine habitats. OCG distinguishes it from other self-proclaimed sustainable movements by having a foundation in humanism both in thought process and execution. While I think they should include more information regarding how many employees they hire and said employees’ wages, they have done a fantastic job of moving the planet in a more sustainable direction, earning them a solid 2.5 Planets. 

What it's made of:

3

The OCG organization has two essential parts; the search engine/website (where the magic happens) and their social media, primarily Instagram, Reddit, and YouTube. Within the search engine side of management, there are around five core employees in Indonesia HR that monitor and manage the search engine and website, in addition to the local employees that they hire to clean out the coast of South East Asia. Aside from the search engine, the website spreads information about plastic waste and its effects on humans and the environment. Some of their articles include How Does Plastic Pollution Affect Humans? and How Does Plastic Get Into The Ocean & How We Can Avoid It. I like that these articles are there for those who choose to interact with them. They allow the consumer to access their understanding of the problem in the open, rather than just making a statement about what their product does. They understand that the value of human self-preservation, a cause of the plastic problem, isn’t inherently negative or positive. Still, the context in which that value is used can have serious consequences. So instead of channeling that value on things such as social status and wealth, they shift the narrative and context of human self-preservation into a positive outlet such as care and empathy for future generations of people and loved ones. Making sustainability more personal for them so they can build a personal relationship with the planet and find an intersection where they and sustainability meet. While it’s pretty standard information, I’m still grateful that it’s there for those that need an extra push for people to make an epiphany. On the social media side of the organization, they use  Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, and Youtube, to document their change/impact on the people that use their search browser. This tool motivates its users to keep using the browser and staying updated with their progress since it’s one thing to talk about change and another thing to make one.

How it's made:

2.5

OCGs explains their difference in its About Us section on its website. Modeling their search engine in partnership with Microsoft Bing, whenever a user searches something on the internet, money advertisers pay to show you ads at the top of the recommendation page. In addition, if a user interacts with an advert, OCG also earns more revenue. It’s essentially the same way Google and other search engines get income from advertisers paying them to show their ads. However, in OCG’s case, 100% of the ad revenue goes directly into their cleaning operation. In turn, the founders don’t make any income from OCG, demonstrating their commitment to their movement, being motivated by impact rather than money. Instead, they use this money to locally hire and train residents in areas significantly impacted by plastic pollution across South-East Asia.

Furthermore, they stress the importance of education in their clean-up crews since raising awareness of the impact of plastic waste creates a positive ripple effect/negative feedback loop in such communities where unsustainable habits may have become normalized. Their efforts have already accumulated over 10 million web searches, and their clean-up crews have collected over 500,00 pounds of plastic. OCG stores this plastic waste collected in a warehouse and goes through a sorting process according to the plastic kind; bottles, surgical masks, plastic bags, etc. Eventually, this recyclable waste ends up in ECO Bali’s recycling service, though they hope to recycle plastics independently in the future. However, OCG can improve by having more information on the exact number of full-time employees they have hired and how much money they make. Unfortunately, the only information I could find on their employees is that from the revenue they earn from 300 users using their ad, they can hire one full-time employee.

In practicality, the search engine is relatively easy and intuitive to use and incorporate into your daily routine, genuinely living up to its claim of being able to make a difference in your home. If you use Chrome, OCG can be installed as an extension allowing users to change their default search engine to OCG. After that, you just use the search browser as usual. After 2-3 searches, you will see the plastic bag icon on the top left corner showing how many metaphorical plastic bags/waste has been collected, thanks to your efforts. What is admirable about its business model is its accessibility. Their intention isn’t to sell the user things to clean the ocean and away from donations making it accessible so all that want to participate in the movement can, which they don’t ask for money but for effort and intention what a sustainable movement should be about. Their privacy policies are more or less the same as google chromes and other search browsers. Here lies the standard asking permission to auto-fill private information, detect fraud, and have their AI permission to advertise related to their products or services, so nothing changes there. However, they make it clear that they respect their users’ privacy and don’t track or keep any of the data allotted to them. 

 

Who makes it:

2

On OCG’s FAQ, they state that OCG was founded by Micheal Powells and Jon Chambers, using personal funds to create the website, and hire and start the coastal clean-ups. There is also a third co-founder, Felix Millar, mentioned in a Forbes interview and on the website as the manager of Business Enquiries. According to Forbes.com and Felix’s OCG Reddit form, Powell, having a history in technology, was the innovator of creating a search engine whose revenue could assist in cleaning the ocean. He invited his friends on to this joinery with him. While I couldn’t find much background on Chambers, his co-founder, Millar, the manager for enquiries, has a history in Digital marketing and Advertisement and a BA in Digital Communication and Multimedia. He commits these talents to find “ways OCG can collaborate with brands and businesses to help them achieve a plastic-free footprint.” Outside of the OCG search engine OCG has partnered with the Bali Turtle Conservation on numerous occasions during ocean clean-ups and provided aid to animals affected by plastic pollution. In addition also created a cryptocurrency, Planet B, with funds to endorse Clean-ups In Sierra Leone, Indonesia, USA, Vietnam & Thailand. OCG does try to connect with its users by providing a toll-free number to contact them. However, there has seemed to be a lack of action on their part recently. On their socials, they haven’t posted any updates on their work since December of 2021. In addition, their reviews on Google and Chrome indicate that the web browser has stopped working for them. While OCG is a great concept and has worked and still does work, for some users, its social hype has decreased considerably from its release in 2019 and the exponential growth it experienced in 2020. Even though OCG is a shadow of its former self due to a lack of engagement from its core team, it has positively impacted the coast and marine clean-up it has performed. It is an excellent example of what a sustainability movement should represent, creativity and giving without expecting anything in return. I hope one day it returns to its glory days.