The Billion Oyster Project’s annual event, which took place during New York Climate Week, was the perfect occasion to celebrate our recent union with ExpandTheRoom while promoting sustainability as our shared value.
Advocating for sustainability and fighting against climate change are an important part of Infinum’s mission as a company. (We were certified as a Climate Neutral company earlier this summer.) So we were thrilled to have the opportunity last week to join our new colleagues at ExpandTheRoom in sponsoring the Billion Oyster Project’s annual Billion Oyster Party at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Founded in 2014, the BOP is dedicated to restoring oyster reefs in New York Harbor with an ambitious goal of reaching a billion oysters by 2035. The once abundant species was wiped out in under 100 years – taking with it the protection from waves and erosion provided by the reefs, a diverse marine ecosystem, and the immense cleaning capacity of oysters (each mollusk can filter a bathtub worth of water in a day).
The project that grew out of its shell
The organization, created by two concerned citizens with a powerful vision – event co-hosts Murray Fisher and Pete Malinowski – has grown to a massive city-wide initiative with the participation of 15,000 volunteers, 100 schools (including the BOP-affiliated Harbor School on Governor’s Island), 8,000+ students, and 60 restaurants that donate the shells used to build out the reef habitats.
Students are at the center of the BOP, applying a K-12 STEM curriculum in the real world by learning how to grow oysters, designing reef structures, and exploring other maritime subject matter. High school students at the Harbor School can enroll in career programs that lead directly to industry certifications.
Since its relatively humble beginnings nearly a decade ago, the BOP has steadily grown in influence, attracting the attention of citizens, national press, and government officials from the Mayor to the Schools Chancellor (who attended the party), to New York’s Governor.
In the days just before the party, the organization’s profile expanded exponentially as Prince William visited the BOP to learn more about the mission and to participate in some of the environmental activities himself.
A billion reasons to celebrate
The Billion Oyster Party is an annual event that celebrates the organization and serves as a fundraising pillar for its expanding efforts. Fittingly, it also brings together the top oyster farmers from around the country to create a feast for the partygoers and donors.
This year featured more than 40 farmers representing all three coasts, from Washington to California, Louisiana to Florida, up to Maine. Different varieties of oysters were stretched out on beds of ice for the length of a football field. Add in craft cocktails, innovative dishes from local restaurants, and live music, and revelers had about a billion reasons to enjoy themselves.
The event and its sponsorship presented the perfect setting for Infinum and ETR, who recently combined forces, to celebrate their union. Teams from Zagreb, New York, and Chicago had the opportunity to spend quality time with clients and business partners, and to get to know each other better outside the ubiquitous eye of the Zoom camera. The companies sponsored a photo booth designed to drive further awareness of the BOP and its sustainability activities.
Here’s another interesting note – ExpandTheRoom developed the organization’s brand identity and logo, as well as that of the Harbor School. It was cool to see the logo mark projected at massive scale on the outside of the building, the big stage, t-shirts, and on all the marketing materials surrounding the occasion.
“We’ve worked with the Billion Oyster Project since their inception – back when they were just trying to get on people’s radar,” said James Cole, co-founder of ETR and CEO for North America at Infinum. “It’s incredible to see what they’ve done and how they’ve grown. They’re making a huge difference and making a bigger impact every day. We’re honored to be a part of the important work they’re doing.”
“The Billion Oyster Project’s work is transformative to the harbor and also to the students that they’re inspiring,” said Infinum CEO Nikola Kapraljević. “Any time we can play a role in raising the profile of sustainability efforts like this, we are all in.”