In 2019 Ahlstrom-Munksjö asked its employees to suggest projects or organizations that the company could support. One of the eight projects selected was Origin by Ocean, a neo-ecology biorefinery start-up focusing on the technology to turn algae-based biomass into natural and biologically sustainable ingredients for use in the food, beverage, cosmetics and pharma industries.
“Our heart and value lie within how to help the seas and oceans find their nutrient balance back”, explains Mari Granström, Chief Science Activist from Origin by Ocean. “We focus on the environmental problem of removing excess nutrients and turn this problem into the valuable business.”
The idea of bringing back the natural balance to ocean life is not a new concept, yet the company has only been operating for one year. Origin by Ocean focuses on biorefinery technologies to extract value from blue-green algae and bladder wrack before taking the collected materials to their laboratory – which is “where the magic happens.” Mari goes on to describe how she and her team turn algae “into value-added molecules to be used as ingredients in consumer goods.”
Ahlstrom-Munksjö employees at the Helsinki office, many of whom share a passion for sailing and the local archipelagos of Finland and Sweden, proposed support for this project.
HR Manager Anna Helve describes why supporting Origin by Ocean is so important to her:
”Being part of a family that sails means we are spending a remarkable part of the summer by the sea. During those summers when there is a lot of blue-green algae, it prevents people from swimming and using the water for other purposes due to its toxicity. I love the fact that Origin by Ocean is combining a sustainable and scalable business idea to create balance in our oceans.”
“We are ever so grateful for this donation which enables us to scale up the farming and start to build the first bladder wrack 'forest’,” says Mari Granström.