As part of its continued environmentally-focused efforts and its partnership with Plastic Free Jersey, Butterfield covered the costs for two students to travel to London to participate in a Hackathon to create solutions to the global plastics problem.

In December, GCSE students were challenged to devise practical solutions to combat plastic pollution in the Island at Plastic Free Jersey’s Design Sprint event, which was sponsored by Butterfield. Following the event, Gemma Newman and Katelyn Ridgeway from Hautlieu School were chosen to represent Jersey at the Plastic Hackathon at the Imperial College London in February.

Organisers of the Reuse/Refill Hackathon challenge curated teams of industry experts from the sustainability sector and brands such as Marks & Spencer and Just Eat, with at least one teenager included in each team to add a fresh perspective. Teams were tasked with finding innovative solutions to the plastic pollution problem associated with ordering takeaways, grab and go food, personal care, as well as internet and grocery shopping.

Both Hautlieu students delivered keynote speeches at the hackathon. Gemma’s team’s concept, “Mindful Minis”, was awarded first place by the judging panel and will be working with the investment committee of Sustainable Ventures to move their idea forward.

Gemma said: ‘I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at the Plastic Hackathon. I felt that I was part of something that was going to improve my future. It’s so imperative that my generation has a voice when discussing the future sustainability of our planet and this event allowed my voice to be considered. The experience has given me some reassurance that the drastic problem of plastic pollution isn’t being ignored or left for generations to come. It was inspiring to see so many like-minded individuals come together and consider other, more sustainable ways for the future. We need to make people ready to change, not to be scared of it.

‘Initiatives like this are so important, having a whole host of people each with their individual ambitions and motives, working collaboratively to achieve sustainable solutions. I would like to thank Butterfield for allowing me the opportunity to go to this event and I’m looking forward to working with Sustainable Ventures in progressing our idea,’ she added.

Noel McLaughlin, Managing Director at Butterfield Bank (Jersey) Limited, said: ‘We are delighted that Gemma and Katelyn were chosen to represent the Island at the Reuse/Refill Hackathon in London working with experts in the sustainability sector. The Hackathon is an innovative and creative way of devising solutions to the global problem of plastic pollution. Following on from the success of the Design Sprint, this was a fantastic opportunity and we’re thrilled to have enabled the students to be part of such a creative and important initiative. At Butterfield, we are committed to the betterment of the natural environment in the communities we call home.’