Q&A with Ocean Refresh founder Bernardo Pedroso

Q&A with Ocean Refresh founder Bernardo Pedroso

david walker smith

Bernardo is the Founder and CEO of Ocean Refresh, an outstanding brand that really do place the environment at the heart of everything they do. 

Bernardo, what was it that made you wake up one morning and decided to launch Ocean Refresh?  

I was born and raised by the ocean. I’m a keen surfer with a family heritage of surfing – mum was Brazil’s first female champion surfer.  The ocean was my playground and being Brazilian, I wanted to link the heritage and give something back. In Brazil, everyone wears flip flops. In fact, they are the most sold shoe in the world, but many are cheaply made and have a short life span, usually lasting less than a year. Ultimately, they end up in landfill or polluting our oceans, and are only adding to the rising problem of plastic pollution. I noticed a gap in the market for a truly sustainable, eco-friendly flip flop product, and I  wanted to see if I could make that happen. Today, Ocean Refresh sell the only 100% recycled flip flop in the world. They are incredibly durable and can be recycled into a new pair an average of four times with our 360 Programme, giving them a lifespan of 12 years ,compared to one or two with common flip flop brands.


Tell me about a recent challenge you faced while working on your brand project and how did you overcome it?  

Our supply chain! Due to COVID-19 all of our factories in Brazil were closed which meant we had to relocate to Milan and pretty much start from scratch. Finding a new supply chain and trying to maintain quality was a big challenge but we managed to find new suppliers of our plastic and form new partnerships with amazing organisations like the SEAQUAL Initiative. We also launched an all new product - our sneakers – to work around the problem of people being unable to travel (and therefore not buying flip flops!).


What is your three year vision for Ocean Refresh?  

To become a globally recognised, truly sustainable footwear brand. We are currently working towards getting B-Certified, which would make us one of the first UK Footwear brands to hold the certification.


What is your biggest concern in the world of today?  

Single use plastic pollution! I don’t believe we are currently doing enough, fast enough, to curb the effect we’ve had as humans on our planet. We must cut the problem off at source, stop producing new plastic products, and start re-cycling what we already have. We must also, continually, find new ways to create products that don’t harm our environment.


Who in our world is your biggest inspiration and why (past and present)?  

David Attenborough. This may be a predictable answer, but he’s taught me everything I know about sustainability, and protecting our planet. He inspires me each day and I was driven partly to set up Ocean Refresh because of his films.


What do you love about GenerousAPE?  

It’s great to see a marketplace solely supporting sustainable brands. GenerousAPE is the future of shopping, and it’s exciting to be a part of it.

And finally If you could have one wish - what would it be?  

To be the number one seller of flip flops in the world whilst at the same time, getting rid of the need to create cheap, plastic flip flops, that harm our oceans!


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