Mathilda D’silva: Building Innovative Projects To Convert Ocean Plastic Into Hydrogen

Mathilda D’silva: Building Innovative Projects To Convert Ocean Plastic Into Hydrogen

Mathilda D’silva , CEO

Mathilda D’silva


Climate change has impacted the environment globally and every country is trying to adopt sustainable growth to control it. In this global mission, Ocean Purpose Project founded by Mathilda D’Silva has joined its hand to fight against climate change. The organization’s goal is to create a movement that drives ocean conservation and plastic pollution prevention via disruptive and creative projects with a mass-scale impact. It is doing some impactful work for society such as beach cleanups, viral sustainability & blue carbon marketing, plastic to hydrogen, and seaweed bioremediation.

Mathilda D’Silva has completed her Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Media Studies and Double Major in Broadcast Journalism & Screen Studies from Murdoch University. She has also done a Digital Marketing Leadership Diploma from Squared Online. Before founding her own organization, she worked with organizations like Mediacorp Pte Ltd, StarHub, DBS Bank, and Straits Biopharma as a broadcast & print journalist and then as a social media community management & sustainability advocate for over two decades. Let’s hear more.

How would you define Ocean Purpose Project as an organization and its current position in the market?

Ocean Purpose Project is listed as a social enterprise having ESG goals at the core of our products and services. The way our divisions are organized, the way we recruit & retain talents, the way we run our operations, and even the offices we have are having ESG goals at their core. So, ESG is not just a nice to have, or a marketing term, but it is embedded in every brick & mortar of our building and in every aspect of what we do.

My team and I have proven it by sticking with the idea & just working consistently on the ground to get to the next stage in our journey of doing impossible things

What are the major projects that you have undertaken till now? How did you overcome the challenges associated with them and what did you learn from them?

Ocean Purpose Project is basically a social enterprise in Singapore that is almost interchangeable with a charity where we work in the environment to make it sustainable, but a lot of social enterprises don’t work for the environment. Secondly, we are the first ones to encourage a blue economy, working on things like plastic to hydrogen and seaweed bioremediation. So, when you’re the thought leader and a game changer, then you are the one taking the hit of the first wave and the first one to answer all the questions that arise because of it. Also, the CEO of the company is a female who is dealing with a few autoimmune conditions that makes it difficult for her to do these things.

To overcome such challenges, we do project prototyping and work closely with our partners. Before selecting our partners to work with, we do due diligence to understand whether they are in research or academia, whether they are interested in just publishing, or whether they like creating cutting-edge research. After doing all of these, we need to prove ourselves by surviving in the market to mitigate such challenges.

What has been the success mantra that constantly helps you arrive at positive outcomes?

There is a quote given by Nelson Mandela which says it is always impossible until it’s done, and I think that is something I would consider my success mantra. I am saying this because when we first started our project, people used to say that you are doing some nonsense thing and there is nothing like converting plastic to hydrogen. Also, the seaweed staff used to tell me that you are not a marine biologist to work on seaweed bioremediation techniques. But my team and I have proven it by sticking with the idea and just working consistently on the ground to get to the next stage in our journey of doing impossible things.

What is the future destination you are heading towards?

After surviving COVID, we are focusing more on converting our potential prototype projects into actual deployment projects. We are actively sourcing to find a potential partner who will help us to scale up as well as in project implementation. Also, in the next two to five years we will focus on running our prototype on a small scale and prove that this thing works because I do not like to just go around and raise seed funds just with the idea written on a PowerPoint presentation. So, moving from a research-based TRL to ready for deployment stage, we have to start answering various industry questions and these are very critical in the next two to five years.

In light of your strong experience within the industry, what advice would you give to budding industry leaders?

My first advice for the leaders working in sustainability is that it is vital for us to be sustainable ourselves to do this in a more meaningful way. The second thing is, leaders in sustainability must move towards having the processes of the corporate systems such as accountability, responsibility, auditing, and making roadmaps in the sustainability industry as well. The next thing is that leaders in this industry must burn themselves out by working hard and converting the plans into actionable goals because such things do not work only with passion and purpose. They should also become a believer in following processes and systems and learn the processes of other industries as well which might help them to get their work done once implemented properly.

Mathilda D’silva, CEO, Ocean Purpose Project

Passionate about creating a positive impact on society, Mathilda D’silva has been working to solve the ocean pollution crisis and promote ocean conservation at scale.

Current Issue