MILAN Last year, Prada partnered with UNESCO on an education program called “Sea Beyond” for high school students worldwide to raise awareness of, and promote, more responsible behavior toward the oceans. Now the Italian luxury company and UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission are presenting the last phase of the project, culminating on March 26.

The project is in line with the Agenda of the United Nations 2030 and 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The first phase kicked off in October and ended last month. During this period, high school teachers in 10 cities around the world (Berlin, Cape Town, Lisbon, London, Mexico City, Milan, New York, Paris, Shanghai, and Venice) took part in webinars conducted by UNESCO-IOC experts, in which they received training on how to develop an educational module dedicated to the theme of ocean sustainability.

Every school received a “Sea Beyond” toolkit made of recycled cardboard, containing educational as well as creative materials to enable students to play an active role in a global ocean sustainability movement.

The second phase of the project started Jan. 15 and students were tasked with developing awareness campaigns focused on ocean preservation as part of an international competition.

The winning campaign will be revealed during a virtual event to be held on March 26 and livestreamed on Prada’s website. The school of the selected project will receive 5,000 euros to be invested in educational materials.

Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada Group head of corporate social responsibility, and Vladimir Ryabinin, executive secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and assistant director general of UNESCO, will be joined by international personalities who have dedicated their talent and careers to saving the oceans.

Jury members include Italian writer Alessandro Baricco; aquanaut, oceanographic explorer and environmental advocate Fabien Cousteau; art historian, anthropologist and environmental artist Anne de Carbuccia, whose striking works prompt viewers to reflect on the damage mankind has done to nature and animals; marine scientist and social entrepreneur Kerstin Forsberg, and Italian gold-medalist free diver Alessia Zecchini.

The event will be moderated by Brazilian marine activist and artist Patricia Furtado de Mendonça.

Prada and UNESCO social channels will display the winning campaign on their social channels and websites.

Participating schools include Aristoteles-Gesamtschule Bernau Montessori schule Niederbarnim, Berlin (Germany); Protea Heights Academy, Protea (South Africa); Escola Básica e Secundária Anselmo De Andrade, Almada (Portugal); Agrupamento de Escolas de Vialonga, Vialonga (Portugal); the Kingston Academy, Surrey (UK); Colegio Latino, Villahermosa, Tabasco (Mexico); Istituto Marcelline Tommaseo, Milan (Italy); New Rochelle High School, New York (USA); Lycée International Saint Germain en Laye, Saint-Germain-en-Laye (France); Shanghai High School International Division, Shanghai (China); Benedetti-Tommaseo, Venice (Italy).

“For the Prada Group, the promotion of culture is an integral part of our sustainability strategy,” said Bertelli last year, launching the project, which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The collaboration with UNESCO is in line, and translates into, a direct communication channel with the students from schools around the world. We are proud to see this project stemming from an initiative that was initially conceived as the innovation of a product, and of a sustainable raw material.”

Prada has been raising the bar on its sustainability goals and last week signed a new sustainability-linked, five-year loan with UniCredit banking group for a total of 90 million euros.

The loan is linked to key performance indicators: the regeneration and reconversion of production waste and Prada’s ability to increase the share of self-produced energy.

Prada has invested in reducing production waste in clothing, leather goods and footwear and it is now committed to transferring these waste materials to third parties for their introduction into other production cycles, either through their regeneration or conversion into fertilizers or energy. The company has also invested in the construction of photovoltaic systems in the group’s industrial and corporate sites.

This is the third such loan for the Italian fashion group. Prada in November 2019 signed with Crédit Agricole Group the first sustainability-linked loan in the luxury goods industry. Last year, the company inked a second sustainability-linked loan for a total of 75 million euros with the Milan branch of Mizuho Bank Ltd.

Among the recent highlights for Prada in terms of sustainability, the group created a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council, co-chaired by artist and activist Theaster Gates and award-winning writer, director and producer Ava DuVernay; revealed it was banning fur; launched the Re-Nylon capsule collection in regenerated nylon; released its first sustainability policy; held sustainability conferences “Shaping the Future,” and was a signatory of the Fashion Pact.

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