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‘No plastic waste in our water

‘No plastic waste in our water!’, is the mission of the Plastic Soup Foundation. They have a passionate, relatively small team that consists of only ten full-time employees. However, the driving force behind the Plastic Soup Foundation is its workforce. Consequently, a massive part of their earnings goes to their labour costs. Led by their founder Maria Westerbos, the team of the Plastic Soup Foundation follows a clear mission: to reduce the growth of the plastic soup.

The founding of the Plastic Soup Foundation
In 2011, the Plastic Soup Foundation was founded by Maria Westerbos. Westerbos is an expert in mass communication, on both traditional and new media. When she found out about the plastic soup in 1997, she felt shocked. After gathering more information about the subject and writing her own book about the issue, she decided to found her own foundation to fight against the plastic soup. Her goal was to effect behavioural change in the use of microplastics by international businesses, consumers and governments. In November 2012, the Dutch government was influenced by one of the campaigns of the Plastic Soup Foundation. They agreed to start discussing microplastics and promised to commit to achieving a European ban.

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The team and their vision
The vision of the Plastic Soup Foundation is not to take plastic out of the ocean, but to ensure no more plastic is added. Ever since the founding of the organization, a motivated team has worked hard to follow this vision. Indeed, the Plastic Soup Foundation has become one of the leading pressure groups to tackle plastic pollution.
Their dedicated team consists not only of volunteers, but of many different kinds of people: fundraisers, managers, guest teachers, researchers, and so on. In other words, they have a very diverse workforce. This workforce is taught to work through a fixed approach, which consists of three steps. The first step is: be aware. Through campaigns and by using social media, the organization spreads awareness about the plastic soup. Then, their second step is as follows: get educated. Not only does the Plastic Soup Foundation work together with universities that share a similar vision as them, but they also organize guest lessons at primary school and high schools to educate a younger audience about their mission. Lastly, their third step is called: find solutions. Additionally, the Plastic Soup Foundation stimulates innovative solutions which help reduce the growth of the plastic soup.

Cost of human resources
The balance sheet and operating account of 2016, published on the website of the Plastic Soup Foundation, provides us with information about their finances. When analysing this document, the costs that go to human resources (labour costs and travel costs) are 263,275 euros. This is approximately 35% of their total earnings. On the one hand, not only volunteers but also the employees play a significant role in achieving the mission the Plastic Soup Foundation has. On the other hand, since their team is relatively small, 35% is a high number.

Conclusion and recommendation
To conclude, the highly motivated and above all determined team of the Plastic Soup Foundation is crucial to the organization’s success in reducing the growth of the plastic soup. Maria Westerbos founded the organisation with the intention of making a difference regarding the issue. The diverse team that works for the organization has a clear vision to follow when they operate. However, the overall costs of their human resources are relatively high. Therefore, it is recommended to the organization to look if this percentage can be reduced without harming their operations.

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