Department store Selfridges is launching a campaign to challenge the public to imagine a world with ‘no more fish in the sea’.
The Project Ocean initiative is being spearheaded by the retailer’s creative director, Alannah Weston, working in partnership with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
Selfridges is collaborating with campaigners to use its creative marketing approach to increase awareness, inspire changed consumer habits and raise funds.
Running from 11 May to 12 June 2011, the project is claimed to be both a celebration of the oceans and a forum for conservationists to issue an urgent public wake-up call to address issues of sustainability, overfishing and marine protection.
The London store has given itself over to leading international marine protection campaigners and 22 environmental NGOs, as well high profile activists from the worlds of art, fashion, culinary arts, and entertainment.
Jonathan Baillie, co-creator of Project Ocean and director of ZSL, said: “Project Ocean signals the biggest-ever retail activism campaign designed to ‘sell’ and engage public mind-sets on overfishing, an issue that needs mass support. We hope that this innovative partnership with Selfridges makes the public understand the issues around overfishing, and measurably leads to more fish in the sea.”
According to Selfridges, Project Ocean will take over its London store on a scale never seen before. From its iconic windows, façade and atrium, to The Wonder Room, foodhall and restaurants, the London store will transform itself in homage to the ocean, it said.
For five weeks, Selfridges’ Ultralounge will be the centre for Project Ocean activity, including talks on the most pressing issues related to the world’s oceans. There will be film screenings, NGO workshops, and ‘guerrilla science’ for families.
On Friday evenings, the Ultralounge will emerge as the Dive Bar, hosting musical acts and performances as a means to raising awareness and showcasing up and coming talent.
Project Ocean will culminate with the GLOBE World Ocean’s Day summit on 8 June 2011, the United Nations’ recognised global day of observance in celebration of the oceans.
GLOBE 2011 will welcome heads of state, ambassadors, dignitaries and MPs alongside NGOs and activist organisations to examine, workshop and revise The Common Fisheries Policy among others.
Selfridges said the project is designed to be visionary and solutions-oriented but it also highlights the often-disturbing realities that threaten global marine life.
To make the key themes more engaging to its 30,000 daily customers, Selfridges said it is injecting a high dose of style, fun and entertainment into the mix.
From frogmen marching its hallowed aisles, to massive commissioned balloon installations by New York artist Jason Hackenwerth, to ‘No More Fish In The Sea?’ T-shirts by famed activist fashion designer Katharine Hamnett, there will be non-stop buzz to help convey the most pressing messages over the duration of Project Ocean, it said.
Selfridges has eliminated all endangered fish stocks across all its restaurants and food halls. To help consumers change their habits, a Project Ocean Fish Guide has been developed in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) to identify which fish to eat and which to avoid, suggesting alternatives to those under threat.
The guide is free and available in booklet format or via a more detailed phone app version, including recipes from participating chefs and a sustainability-minded restaurant guide compiled by Fish 2 Fork. Selfridges said it will continue to work long-term on implementing responsible sourcing policies in their stores as fish species’ sustainable status is updated and better understood.
As part of its commitment, Selfridges has sponsored the creation of a marine reserve in the Philippines on a double barrier reef, creating a safe haven for endangered fish.
It said the public can help ZSL to help set up and support marine reserves around the world by donating to Project Ocean and purchasing bespoke Project Ocean ribbons, bracelets and access. A marine reserve manifesto developed by participating NGOs will encourage society to make their policy makers act to protect marine reserves on a long-term level.
Weston, co-creator of Project Ocean, said: “Marine conservation is a personal passion for me. Project Ocean has created a wonderful opportunity to use Selfridges’ own unique channels to help conservationists reach a wider audience and raise the stakes for global impact.
“We hope our increasingly eco -engaged customers will be inspired by the project and make sustainability a part of their everyday lives. Our hope is that 100 years from now, people will be still be able to enjoy the wonders of the ocean and that Selfridges will still be able to sell fish in our stores.”