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Clean shores, now and forever

A cigarette butt here, a plastic bag there, and a sea and rivers that languish a little more every day. We have seen this in the sustainable action we launched in 2022 and continued this year, ‘Clean Shores’, which is more relevant than ever today on the occasion on World Environment Day 2023.

‘Clean Shores‘ has been held for several months in the thirteen offices that Zabala Innovation has in Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, and the United Kingdom. In each office, professionals disconnected for a morning from their daily tasks of innovation consultancy, to connect with nature and the awareness of the havoc we are wreaking on it. Wearing gloves and tweezers, they collected kilos of rubbish from the banks of rivers, lakes, and beaches, in a symbolic action, with the aim of raising awareness to make better use of products.

The images we share are just a small sample that summarises well a part of the path we are taking towards sustainability, the environmental part we are celebrating today, although we do not neglect the social and economic aspects, which are the basis of our ESG strategy. Because what we do has a great impact, and we try to ensure that the footprint of this impact is positive and long-lasting.

The union between art and innovation

On this path towards sustainability, we have asked Alicia Otaegui, a visual artist specialising in environmental projects, to join us. This local artist is powerfully struck by the artistic potential of rubbish, and her aim is to transform it into a work of art as a vehicle for activating consciences. In other words, creativity as an instrument to catalyse innovation, the key to promoting sustainability. The result of the rubbish collected in our ‘Clean Shores’ action and its artistic vision is the work ‘Cleaning the Sea’, a tree that takes on new life as it grows from the waste. This artistic installation, almost 2.5 metres high, has been placed at Zabala Innovation’s headquarters to remind us of the importance of our involvement.

“This work is based on two concepts: a tree and a tower of Babel created from a multitude of different types of plastic. The totem consists of three pieces of different diameters, starting with a solid and resistant base to support the other two”, says Alicia Otaegui in her conversation with Leire Martiarena, leading consultant in the Social Innovation area at Zabala Innovation.

And, coincidentally, this is the point of union between art and innovation, where the artist has been able to capture the figure that characterises us so much, the tree, always used as a metaphor to represent our mission, vision and values. “The roots, which are the people, must have solid values, and the culture, which is represented as the trunk, is constantly watered so that internal projects and those of our clients can grow”, says Leire Martiarena, emphasising the need to have a solid base so that “the tree” can grow and we can continue to move forward.

This is how it all began

Our commitment to sustainability is not isolated. We work every day for a better world and, since 2021, we have been holding an annual environmental action with our more than 500 professionals at all our European sites.

The inauguration of this action came on the occasion of our 35th anniversary, where we planted trees to green our cities.

We have now cleaned up the banks of our environment, but did you know that this action was born a long time ago? This is how we ended in 2022.


The social side of this sustainable action: people

This story would be incomplete without mentioning its protagonists, each of the people who believed in the idea, who contributed, who got involved to make it a reality in each city and country where we are present.

We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the company’s Culture and Values working group, whose mission is not an easy one: transmitting a company’s culture entails an important exercise of responsibility and commitment and involves getting involved in issues that are outside the scope of work tasks. They are intangibles that only by dedicating time and effort and putting love into them, become tangible actions such as this one.

Nor do we forget our co-protagonists: the different local associations and NGOs that are experts in the environment to raise awareness about reducing the consumption of plastics and their correct recycling. For example, in Barcelona we have the CRAM Foundation, which works to protect the marine environment and its inhabitants on the beach of El Prat de Llobregat. BIOagradables was the association in charge of the dynamisation of the action in Valencia and, as part of its activity, of protecting and conserving the natural environment of the area. In Madrid, we were fortunate to have the TriECO environmental education volunteer association.

Knowledgeable about the local environment, Garrapo‘s environmentalists accompanied the Pamplona teams in this awareness-raising activity. In Brussels, they have counted with the association CanalItUp, which is aware of the need to clean the canal of the European capital of plastics. The expert team of INGURA was the driving force in Bilbao to clean the beach of Sopelana. In Bordeaux, Paris, Lisbon, Zaragoza, Vigo, and Seville have also been able to enjoy this activity that has served to respect and care for the environment and enjoy the team outside the office.


What will next year bring? For the time being, we continue to contribute with small day-to-day actions.

Happy World Environment Day 2023!