Interview: Alex Schulze, CEO & Co-Founder, 4ocean Ocean Cleanup Company

Alex Schulze is the co-founder and CEO of 4ocean, an ocean cleanup company dedicated to ending the ocean plastic crisis. Founded by him and his co-founding partner, Andrew Cooper after a surf trip that included way more plastic pollution than they could have imagined, 4ocean immediately saw meteoric growth. And that’s unique. But what’s also unique is they’re doing non-profit or NGO-type work, but they’re a purpose-driven for profit organization utilizing the power of community and brand partnerships to fully employ a team of captains and crew in multiple locations around the world.

As a Public Benefit Corporation and Certified B Corp, 4ocean harnesses the power of business to fund a global cleanup operation that’s responsible for recovering millions of pounds of plastic (much of that single use plastic) and trash from the world’s oceans, rivers, and coastlines. In fact, they recently reached a whopping 30 million pounds of trash milestone! But if you ask Alex, they’re just getting started.

What I discovered in this fun and winding conversation is that they’re NOT just selling bracelets, they’re NOT outsourcing the dirty work, and they’re NOT afraid to admit what’s working, and what’s NOT. You’ll be surprised at how their business model is set up, how passionate and energetic they are, and how committed they are to their team and this work.

4OCEAN definitely epitomizes the B Corp mantra, Business as a force for good, and is definitely a place where Good Things are Happening :)

Thanks again for listening… I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.

Here are some of the Key Takeaways you’ll appreciate:

  • What’s really going on with plastic pollution (ocean-bound and upstream sources)
  • The wild ride of growing a successful startup
  • Running a for-profit business that does non-profit type work
  • Leveraging partnerships and the power of branding
  • Building a social media presence
  • Learning the job as you go
  • Becoming a strong leader
  • Pursuing your passion
  • Making sustainability cool
  • Unique business models have unique challenges
  • Building a strong team, and keeping them motivated
  • The importance of mentorship

SDG Alignment: #6 Clean Water & Sanitation, #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, #9 Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, #11 Sustainable Cities & Communities, #12 Responsible Consumption and Production, #13 Climate Action, #14 Life Below Water, #15 Life on Land,, #17 Partnerships for the Goals


Also: Be sure to check out our conversation with Jonathan Hanwit, CEO and Co-Founder at thinkPARALLAX, the sustainability strategy, reporting, and communications agency at

We cover topics like this in our weekly newsletter - Subscribe now and get the free sustainability resource guide - Available at

Looking for more structured sustainability learning? Check out our School of Understanding. Link here:

PS: Recorded on RIverside FM - Interested? Do us both a favor: Click here ( ) to create your account. You’ll be impressed, and we’ll be rewarded.

#sustainability #triplebottomline #socialentrepreneur #socialpurposeco #businesswithpurpose #careers #entrepreneurialism #keeplearning #CEO #leadership #oceancleanup #plasticpollution #bcorp #leadership #forceforgood #purposedriven #impact #worldoceansday #4ocean

Intro/Outro music by QubeSounds from Pixabay.

Thanks for watching and/or listening! Our show is available on Spotify, Apple, Google, and YouTube.