The Ocean Cleanup | Deloitte Impact Foundation


Making sure tax is not an issue

Tax at The Ocean Cleanup

Plastic pollution in our oceans is a big worldwide problem. With the help and support of individuals, corporations and governments from all over the world, The Ocean Cleanup is developing advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. “Every penny counts. That is why we are assisting this non-profit organization with all types of tax matters”, Hans Peter Spruit and Ilse Roefs, both International Tax Advisor at Deloitte, say. “From maintaining a good relationship with the tax authorities to the awareness of the global tax implications of their ambitions. It is an interesting and challenging task.”

“With great dedication The Ocean Cleanup is bringing a movement and every employee is enthusiastically part of that”, Hans Peter says. “We are happy to support them in all tax related issues via the Deloitte Impact Foundation and assist The Ocean Cleanup in their development from start-up to scale-up and beyond. We work in close collaboration with their finance and business development team and play an exciting pro-active role.” 

Since the beginning of the partnership, Deloitte has supported The Ocean Cleanup to obtain an ANBI foundation status. With this status, The Ocean Cleanup is able to efficiently attract donations to develop the ocean and rivers systems and reach their ambitions. “Of course, it is important for The Ocean Cleanup to monitor and stay compliant in general and comply with the ANBI conditions, that is why we offer our expertise. “As non-compliancy could damage The Ocean Cleanup’s reputation, we support them on all tax related matters for their global operations”, Ilse explains. “Reputational damage should be prevented at all costs”. By working together with Deloitte US and other member firms (mostly pro bono) we can align tax consequences between the Netherlands and other EU- and non-EU countries.” 

Analyze all tax related options

When The Ocean Cleanup entered into a partnership with a Finnish company, they started producing Interceptors, the cleaning systems for rivers, at a Malaysian facility. Now operating in and out of Malaysia, The Ocean Cleanup considered to establish a South-East Asian hub. Deloitte supported by preparing a location study and analyzing all kinds of factors, including tax related options, based upon which The Ocean Cleanup was able to make a well-thought decision. “What are the legal and tax regimes? What is the cost of living? How are local and international employees treated? We needed to considerer the full scope of taxes, but also available regional flight connections and housing. A nice and challenging project to dive into where we worked closely with Deloitte Belgium and the local South East Asian teams”, Hans Peter says enthusiastically. “Our goal is to advise The Ocean Cleanup in such a way, that while realizing their global ambitions, they stay aware of all global tax implications and avoid not being compliant.”

Going full circle

Last year The Ocean Cleanup launched their first product made withthe plastic they collected from the ocean: sunglasses. “With the beautiful sunglasses they now produce, The Ocean Cleanup wants to go full circle. From trash to treasure by creating a product to help fund further cleanup. Every penny goes back into cleaning the world’s oceans and rivers of plastic. The supply chain of plastics from ocean to sunglass owner has many corporate tax, VAT and customs implications, hence our expertise was needed.”, Ilse explains. Hans Peter: “In close cooperation with the Ocean Cleanup teams, we contributed to a successful launch of their first product. The Ocean Cleanup is one of my first clients while working for Deloitte. As a Tax Advisor, your impact is not always this obvious, however to be able to contribute via the Deloitte Impact Foundation, makes me very proud and motivated.” Ilse agrees: “On a trip to Bali, Indonesia, I experienced the plastic pollution first hand and it made me realize how important it is to take action now. I am therefore very happy to be part of this project and support The Ocean Cleanup any way we can.”

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 inclusive society. Read more about the Deloitte Impact Foundation and view our other initiatives.

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