The Ocean Cleanup | Deloitte Impact Foundation


The Interceptor business model

In this blog (2/5), Sietse van de Riet and Zachary Bailet share how they built a go-to-market strategy for The Ocean Cleanup’s river Interceptor. Their challenge: Achieving a broad and rapid rollout that enables systems to be installed in the 1000 most polluting rivers, in five years from scaleup.

The Ocean Cleanup designs and develops advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans and rivers of plastic. Since 2017, Deloitte is supporting The Ocean Cleanup, across functions, to further professionalize their organization and operations. So far, around 20 projects have been executed by 131 Deloitte colleagues. Via this blog series, multiple colleagues share their experiences.

Sietse van de Riet and Zachary Bailet are strategy consultants at Monitor Deloitte. On a daily basis they support their clients with making key decisions through deep industry knowledge and methodical analyses.  In the summer of 2019, they got the opportunity to work with The Ocean Cleanup, several months prior to the unveiling of their newly developed  Interceptor technology. 

River Interceptor technology

As the name suggests, the Interceptor is designed to trap and collect plastic waste in rivers, thereby preventing it from reaching the world’s oceans. At 24 meters long, the solar-powered Interceptor is able to hold 50 M3 of trash and, capable of running semi-autonomously. 

Representing a major step in The Ocean Cleanup’s efforts to eliminate ocean plastic, the Interceptor stops plastic waste before it reaches the oceans, in addition to collecting it once already there. Sietse: ‘Aware of the opportunity this new technology represented, our objective as strategy consultants was to help build a go-to-market strategy to achieve a broad and rapid rollout, namely installation of the Interceptor in 1000 rivers in five years’ time.’

The business model

Zachary: ‘Resembling a classic go-to-market strategy in many senses, our primary focus was to define business models and an approach to deploy the Interceptors at scale. To do this, we started by defining country archetypes based on waste management infrastructure, government involvement, public awareness and more.’ Sietse: ‘Through the extensive network of Deloitte we held dozens of interviews with people from all over the world. The Ocean Cleanup brand surely enables and resulted in many enthusiastic conversations.’

From suits to t-shirts and flip-flops

Sietse: ‘From the beginning, the collaboration was open and friendly. Upon our first visit we were told to drop the suits and very soon we had no choice; wearing t-shirts and flip-flops to keep cool, while working in 40 degrees Celsius and a building without air conditioning.’ Zachary adds: ‘The lunches were “do-it-yourself”, with communal bread, cheese, and vegetables around high tables. We were welcomed into a determined team whose priority was to achieve maximum impact in minimum time, eschewing the typical emphasis on profitability and longevity.’ 

A meaningful experience

Sietse: ‘Ultimately we were able to adapt quite quickly to this mindset and have been pleased to watch in the last year as the Interceptor has been successfully launched and installed in sites around the world.’ Zachary agrees: ‘Taking part in such a meaningful project with The Ocean Cleanup was both humbling and fulfilling. It was an opportunity to collaborate with a group who is truly “playing to win”.’

The Deloitte Impact Foundation

Through the Deloitte Impact Foundation, Deloitte is committed to bring a positive impact to society. We share our core competences, knowledge and network in societal initiatives to make an impact in the fields of education & employment, sustainability and endurability. Read more about the Deloitte Impact Foundation and view our other initiatives.

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