Prada joins forces with UNESCO to raise children's awareness of ocean protection
A sunny morning in Venice, happy children ready to discover the secrets of the lagoon, disembarking from a Sea Beyond, turquoise vaporetto... All the elements were present on Tuesday for the media launch of the new initiative of the Italian luxury group to "promote education in the preservation of the sea and its resources" as part of its project initiated in 2019 with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO.
After having targeted secondary school students around the world in recent years, the Sea Beyond project is now targeting very young children, aged 3 to 5, through the "lagoon kindergarten" outdoor educational programme. Prada chose the International Education Day to bring about thirty journalists to the island of Torcello, opposite Venice, to attend the first workshops organised by Unesco with the aim of raising children's awareness of the fauna, nature and ecosystem of the lagoon. On the programme were various activities, such as watercolour painting to make their own colour chart of the lagoon, creation of paper-mâché fish with a mask artisan and water analysis.
Around 120 children were selected from six kindergartens in Venice and adjacent towns on the mainland, "some of whom had never set foot in the lagoon", say the organisers. The Municipality of Venice helped with the logistics, including the provision of a tram and a vaporetto, while the Emilia Bosis Foundation hosted the children's activities. Ten trips are planned until June and as many lessons will be held in the selected classes of the schools.
"We will guide the children through a journey of observation. It is essential that they create an ecological awareness. In a second phase, we will talk to them about the impact of man on the planet, always through the ecosystem of the lagoon", explains Francesca Santoro, coordinator of the Unesco Ocean Education programme.
The project was financed by Prada through its "Re-Nylon" programme, through which it has been manufacturing all its products in its emblematic black nylon since the end of 2021, using regenerated yarn derived from the recycling of plastic waste, from carpet scraps to fishing nets collected from the oceans.
"We fund Sea Beyond's projects by allocating a percentage of the sales generated by our Re-Nylon collections. This proves that sustainability can also be financially sustainable. This collection of 100% recycled nylon clothing, bags and shoes represents an important part of our turnover. Thanks to this project, we have also attracted many young people to our shops. This is a commercial success," notes Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada's director of corporate social responsibility.
"Sea Beyond is a long-term project with the aim of educating future generations about sustainability issues. We chose Venice to start this new project because it is the symbol par excellence of the sea. We also have our Foundation here and it is home to UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission," he concludes. The idea is to develop this new programme in other cities and countries.
Also through this project, the group will launch a training programme via the "AWorld" application for its 14,000 employees. Lorenzo Bertelli also recalled that Sea Beyond is a platform open to all and that another luxury house will soon join the programme. The company is also expected to announce an increase in investment to support such projects in the near future.
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