Founder of Ocean Generation awarded MBE

05 January 2022 by Grace Coleman
blog author

Film producer and founder of Ocean Generation, Jo Ruxton, has received an MBE for her pioneering efforts to support marine conservation. 

Jo has worked tirelessly for the past 30 years and received the accolade in recognition for her outstanding achievements in the Queen’s 2022 New Year Honours. 

She founded Ocean Generation (an NGO formerly known as Plastic Oceans UK) in 2009 to galvanise her mission in campaigning against plastic pollution and the impact it has on our environment. Not only is Jo, the founder of Ocean Generation, but she also produced the multi-award-winning impactful film A Plastic Ocean, which was released in 2016. 

The environmental film became a number one documentary on Netflix and was hailed as “one of the most important films of our time” by Sir David Attenborough. It generated greater public awareness of the plastic pollution crisis and prompted a mass of organisations and activists to work hard to keep plastic out of the ocean. 

Marking her fantastic achievement, Jo said: “I am both very humbled and hugely honoured to be awarded an MBE, especially knowing the calibre of those who have previously received one, for their work in the field of environmental conservation.  There are so many role models who have inspired my work and who have helped me to progress my career and the team at Ocean Generation deserve to be credited too, as we celebrate this incredibly positive start to 2022 together. 

 “I am further inspired and committed to continue my work in ocean conservation. For too long the ocean has been treated as an afterthought when it comes to environmental protection, yet it supports all life on our planet and is a vital part of the puzzle when it comes to resolving the climate crisis”. 

 Jo kickstarted her ocean career as a Conservation Officer for WWF-Hong Kong, where she headed campaigns to create marine reserves at a time of great expansion of the State, including the controversial airport and its impacts on coastal reefs and sensitive species such as the Pink Dolphin.  

On returning to the UK, she then worked alongside Sir David Attenborough as dive lead for the first series of Blue Planet. The BBC experience and witnessing ocean pollution ignited Jo’s passion for fighting the plastic crisis which led her to launch the NGO and create a movement. 

Jo has influenced Governments across the globe to bring forward the current legislation to reduce single-use plastic, as well as popular culture and education in demanding change on unnecessary plastic packaging.  

 Jo added: “As a grandmother who has spent so much of my life by the sea and who has taken every opportunity to experience it, above and below the surface, my wish is that the ocean of my granddaughters’ futures will be as wonderful, inspiring and most of all healthy, as the ocean was in my past”. 

Andy Cartland, Founder of sustainability search firm Acre, a charity partner of Ocean Generation since 2017, said: “We first met Jo in 2018 when we screened her film A Plastic Ocean to a cinema packed full of sustainability leaders in London. To say that she had an impact on the audience is an understatement. It has been a privilege to support Jo’s NGO, Ocean Generation, for the past four years. Her vision and ambition have been an inspiration to me and to the team at Acre."