Doug Woodring

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Doug Woodring, 2011, 2012 and 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year nominee for his work in the open water swimming and environmental fields
Doug Woodring, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Ocean Recovery Alliance
Doug Woodring, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Ocean Recovery Alliance
Doug Woodring (on right) with trisolothon competitors in the Sheko Challenge in Hong Kong
Douglas Woodring is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Ocean Recovery Alliance.

Woodring is an environmental entrepreneur, an ocean advocate, a writer, a competitive athlete, a sports event organizer and a creative innovator on community issues. He is the co-founder of Ocean Recovery Alliance, a non-profit organization which is focused on bringing innovative solutions, technology, collaborations and policy together to impact positive improvements for the health of the ocean. Two of the projects currently being launched were announced at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2010, the Global Alert platform, and the Plastic Disclosure Project. In 2008 he co-founded Project Kaisei, which focused on the plastic in the North Pacific Gyre, and he is a UNEP Climate Hero for his efforts, and he was nominated for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year award.



Woodring has been on the advisory board of the XPrize, and the Economist’s World Oceans Summit, and in 2011, he co-authored the United Nations Environmental Program Yearbook chapter on the danger of plastic in the ocean. He was also the founder of Plasticity at the Rio+20 Earth Summit, a one-day side event focused on the future of plastic, and where the leaders are going with solutions, innovations, and opportunities. He is a much sought after speaker at major environmental conferences, universities and corporate programs.

Woodring has worked in Asia for almost 20 years in a number of industries which have been at the forefront of technology within their sectors, mainly related to the environment and new media platforms. Prior to working with technology start-ups, while at Merrill Lynch Asset Management Hong Kong in 1998, he proposed the company’s first global environmental technology fund which was later launched in 2001. He started his career in Japan, working for one of the largest fishing companies in the world, which is partly where his drive for ocean protection originates.

Woodring is active in the environmental community, and has been the Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce’s Environmental Committee in Hong Kong, and helped to start the Hong Kong Shark Foundation, dealing with the overfishing of sharks around the world. He was nominated for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year for his innovative contributions to the sport.

Born in Northern California, Woodring has a dual masters degree from The Wharton School (MBA) and Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) where he studied Environmental Economics. He has an undergraduate degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley and is an open water swimmer and former water polo player.


Open Water Swims

He organized the Hong Kong / San Francisco Ocean Film Festival and The Ocean Walk. He also organizes the annual Clean Half Extreme Marathon Swim and Sheko Challenge open water swimming events in Hong Kong as well as the Cold Half, The Five, and the Cold Standard and the Kids Ocean Day on Repulse Bay Beach with Spectral Q. The Clean Half Extreme Marathon Swim is one of the World's Top 100 Open Water Swims. His other swims are among Asia's Top 50 Open Water Swims.

2012 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Nomination

Woodring was nominated for the 2012 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year award. His World Open Water Swimming Association nomination reads,

Day in and day out, Doug Woodring works tirelessly to bring the world’s attention to the plasticity of the world’s oceans. His open water events are the greenest in the world with their carbon-neutral options and biodegradable products. His projects, run under his NGO, Ocean Recovery Alliance, include the Plastic Disclosure Project and Global Alert – Floating Trash, reach global political leaders and an increasing number of citizens in a number of countries. He is a man of the sea, but he deals with the growing menace of ocean plasticity by going upstream and offering practical solutions that can be reasonably implement by individuals, corporations and governments. For his unwavering focus on a global issue with specific solutions, for his tying together open water swimming with the environmental problems of contemporary times, Doug Woodring is a worthy nominee for the 2012 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.

Plastic Disclosure Project

Woodring founded the Plastic Disclosure Project at the Clinton Global Initiative as a way to bring about large scale prevention of plastic waste. This is an investor and multi-stakeholder driven program to encourage companies and other institutions to measure their plastic footprint and develop plastic management strategies to create a world where plastic adds value to businesses without negatively impacting the environment.


The approach is simple: an annual disclosure request is sent on behalf of socially responsible investors and other community stakeholders to companies around the world that are users of plastic in their products or services, asking them to measure their plastic footprint. The goal is to inspire improved strategies for lessening plastic's impact on the environment, managing the material in more efficient ways, and treating it as a resource instead of a waste product. This includes less waste in the supply chain, more recycling within one's user-base, more recycled content, new design, and the use of new materials.


Video of Human Aerial Art in 2013

Schoolchildren in Repulse Bay Beach in Hong Kong create human aerial art in an event organized by Doug Woodring.

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