Paramount Consumer Products and Nickelodeon announced the launch of SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change, a brand-new global ocean conservation and sustainability initiative. Through partnerships with several non-profit organisations, SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change aims to help remove and divert five million pounds of ocean plastic over the next four years by funding cleanup projects. At the same time, Paramount Consumer Products will work with current SpongeBob SquarePants consumer products partners to drive more sustainable practices and reduce single-use plastic in products, and curate partnerships with new brands to create innovative product lines. Additionally, the initiative will engage millions of SpongeBob fans around the world with on-the-ground events and educational resources that connect them with ways to become a part of the movement and take action in their own communities.
“Since its debut almost 25-years ago, SpongeBob SquarePants has become globally beloved for its contagious optimism and irreverent humour, but at its core the series has always had an intrinsic connection to the sea leading us to launch SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change to help protect the home of the very creatures that inspired Bikini Bottom,” said Veronica Hart, Executive Vice President, Global Franchise Planning, Paramount Consumer Products. “With this initiative not only are we funding change but reinventing how we do business by creating a connected global effort around sustainability, while also being afforded the opportunity to honor the legacy of the incomparable Stephen Hillenburg, Marine Biologist and SpongeBob SquarePants creator, who was so deeply committed to preserving our oceans and marine life.”
At launch, the program will mobilize a network of global non-profit partners that further the goals of SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change. These efforts, which have been funded through grants from the SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change Fund at Tides Foundation, aim to help protect the ocean from plastic pollution and biodiversity loss through on-the-ground clean-up events in cities around the world. Paramount Consumer Products will also work with licensing partners to launch SpongeBob branded products that feature zero or reduced single-use plastic and rally consumers to get active through education and information about conservation-focused organizations they can support.
Non-profit launch partners include:
Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore – The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, in collaboration with Maryland-based government, business and community partners, is dedicated to cleaning and beautifying Baltimore’s waterways. The SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change Fund will support the Waterfront Partnership’s Healthy Harbor initiative to sponsor trash collection activities through 2023.
Coral Restoration Foundation – Headquartered in Key Largo, Florida, the Coral Restoration Foundation was founded in response to the wide-spread loss of the dominant coral species on Florida’s Coral Reef. Since 2007 they have been working to turn the tide for this critical ecosystem, and the SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change Fund will support their coral restoration efforts through 2023.
Plastic Oceans International – This non-profit organization’s goal is to foster sustainable communities and to end plastic pollution worldwide. They operate with the belief that they can and must act locally to create change globally, which they do through their four pillars of education, activism, advocacy and science. The SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change Fund will help fund plastic clean-up projects in Brazil, Philippines, Mexico, Cameroon and Germany.
Surfers Against Sewage – Surfers Against Sewage is a grassroots environmental charity that campaigns to protect the ocean and all it makes possible. It was created in 1990 by a group of Cornish surfers, fighting to clean up the sea that was making them sick. Now, this UK-based marine conservation charity campaigns on all that threatens the ocean – plastic pollution, climate emergency, industrial exploitation and water quality – taking action on the ground that triggers change from the top. The SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change Fund will support the organization’s Million Mile Clean, the most ambitious clean campaign to date, mobilizing over 100,000 people to clean 1 million miles of blue, green and urban spaces in the UK annually.
WORK – This organization supports waste collectors who recycle plastic, helping them earn a dignified income, while diverting waste otherwise destined for oceans and landfills. The SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change Fund will help fund responsible collection efforts in Haiti. Additionally, Paramount will collaborate with WORK to channel first mile ocean-bound plastic material into the licensed consumer products supply chain, contributing to a more circular economy while cleaning up the environment.
Below are Consumer Products partners launching in 2022 and early 2023:
AKUA – This New England-based company is on a mission to create a platform of delicious and nutritious products from a new and exciting form of food agriculture: regenerative ocean farming. AKUA and SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change will be teaming up in 2023 to launch a branded kelp patty that will feature reduced plastic packaging.
Conscious Step – This Brooklyn, New York-based company designs and sells sustainably made socks, sweatshirts and candles that benefit leading non-profits around the world. Each item is uniquely designed and embroidered to raise awareness for the associated cause, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to provide a quantified change. This fall, a line of SpongeBob SquarePants branded apparel will launch, with a portion of proceeds to be donated to Oceana, a non-profit ocean conservation organization.
Munro Footwear Shoes – This Australia-based company designs and sells shoes for boys and girls. Launching in early 2023, Munro Shoes will roll out a SpongeBob SquarePants branded collection that uses reclaimed leather and features recycled packaging that uses no plastic. These will be launching Australia-wide in all Williams and Mathers stores.
Seaesta Surf – This sustainable beachwear brand for kids launched the Seaesta X SpongeBob collaboration earlier this summer and will be expanding the partnership and joining the SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change movement in 2023. Details will be announced at a later date.
Waterlust – A purpose-driven apparel company that uses clothing to educate, inspire and support consumers in living a more environmentally responsible life. They will be launching a line of products featuring recycled fabrics made from post-consumer bottles. The collection will also have a donation to the Ocean Institute in California to support their K-12 marine science education program.
Additionally, the Nickelodeon brand will use the full power of its multimedia ecosystem to galvanize the SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change movement across its social, digital and linear channels. Fans can also log onto www.SpongeBobOperationSeaChange.com for more information about the initiative and its partners.
In 2023, the initiative will expand to include: new partnerships and products, additional short-form content that will help educate fans on the ocean plastic crisis and on-the-ground clean-ups and activations that will allow fans to get involved. Further details will be announced at a later date.
Since its launch July 17, 1999, SpongeBob SquarePants has reigned as the most-watched animated series for 22 consecutive years, while generating a universe of beloved characters, pop culture catchphrases and memes, theatrical releases, consumer products, a Tony award-winning Broadway musical and a global fan base. SpongeBob SquarePants is one of the most widely distributed properties in Paramount International history, seen in more than 170 countries, translated in 29+ languages, and averaging more than 100 million total viewers every quarter. SpongeBob SquarePants was created by Stephen Hillenburg and produced by Nickelodeon in Burbank, Calif. The character-driven cartoon chronicles the nautical and sometimes nonsensical adventures of SpongeBob, an incurable optimist and earnest sea sponge, and his undersea friends.
Paramount Consumer Products oversees all licensing and merchandising for Paramount (Nasdaq: PARA, PARAA), a leading global media and entertainment company that creates premium content and experiences for audiences worldwide. Driven by iconic consumer brands, Paramount Consumer Products’ portfolio includes a diverse slate of brands and content from BET, CBS (including CBS Television Studios and CBS Television Distribution), Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and Showtime. With properties spanning animation, live-action, preschool, youth and adult, Paramount Consumer Products is committed to creating the highest quality product for some of the world’s most beloved, iconic franchises. Additionally, Paramount Consumer Products oversees the online direct-to-consumer business for CBS and Showtime programming merchandise, as well as standalone branded ecommerce websites for Star Trek, SpongeBob, South Park, and MTV.