#OneLess at the ocean conference

In June 2017, #OneLess teamed up with the United Nations (UN) Environment Programme, Monterey Bay Aquarium and Ocean Conservancy to take the #OneLess movement, and its refill culture, to the first ever UN Ocean Conference in New York.

Ocean plastic pollution (and single-use plastic in particular) was one of the most discussed and profiled topics of the whole conference. #OneLess and partners worked with the UN to reduce the plastic footprint of the conference, discouraging participants from bringing single-use plastic water bottles into the venue (the UN Headquarters), and championing a refill culture. 

During the conference, we organised a range of activities:


  • We convened a side event on 5 June entitled ‘mobilizing efforts to tackle marine debris: internationally, nationally and right here at UN headquarters’. Costa Rica and other governments presented what they are doing to reduce marine litter in their waters and around the globe. ZSL and Monterey Bay Aquarium also showcased their efforts to reduce single-use plastic. Additionally, the side event highlighted a community driven initiative in Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chile called Vai Tea, which is inspiring a water bottle refill culture and helping to rid the island of single-use plastic bottles. 
  • We had our very own #OneLess booth from which the team distributed #OneLess ocean conference refillable bottles and encouraged participants to make the #OneLess pledge. 
  • We worked with the UN to highlight and encourage use of their water fountains for the conference and beyond.
  • We worked with the host of the conference, the government of Fiji, to promote the use of refillable bottles and encourage action on ocean plastic. #OneLess ocean conference refillable water bottles were given to all state delegations in the General Assembly, including the Secretary General and the President of the General Assembly. 

SDG14: life below water

In 2015 the UN adopted 17 global goals aimed at ending extreme poverty and building a better, greener world by 2030. These are referred to as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

#OneLess supports the Sustainable Development Goals

About the conference

From 5-9 June the UN hosted the first ever, week-long conference centered around Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: life below water.

SDG 14 is a global commitment to conserve and sustainably manage our shared ocean and marine resources. SDG 14 acknowledges the ocean’s ability to drive global systems and aims to prompt countries to take action to combat threats like climate change, acidification, overfishing and marine pollution.

The UN ocean conference, hosted by the governments of Fiji and Sweden, encouraged countries to come to together to agree on a ‘call to action’ to tackle the biggest issues facing our global ocean.

Many countries and businesses made commitments to take action against plastic pollution and the threat it is poses to ocean health.

Join us

Our work didn’t end when the conference ended! Join us today and become part of the solution by pledging to use a refillable water bottle. It’s a simple choice we can all make and one that will make a big difference to the health of the ocean.

Watch this great video of the legendary oceanographer Sylvia Earle asking you to make a choice!


12 October 2017


The #OneLess team