Mary Kay Inc. Expands Partnership with The Nature Conservancy to Protect Biodiversity and Marine Resources


Oyster reefs benefit humans and the environment through a range of ecosystem services. A single oyster can filter up to 240 liters of water per day, improving water quality and clarity while supporting a unique and highly diverse community of fish and marine invertebrate species. In Europe, native oysters once formed extensive shoals and reefs in the North Sea, English Channel and coastal areas of Ireland, parts of Scandinavia and the Baltic, and across the Mediterranean to the Sea Black. However, more than 90% of the old oyster reefs have disappeared1.

To celebrate World Endangered Species Day and International Day for Biological Diversity, Mary Kay Inc., a global leader in corporate sustainability, announced its expanded partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and European partners to support native oyster restoration projects in the UK and mainland Europe.

TNC helped launch the Native Oyster Restoration Alliance (NORA), a European network of government agencies, scientists, NGOs, oyster farmers and private companies. Established in Berlin in 2017, the network plays a vital role in European marine conservation by restoring oyster reefs in the North Sea and beyond. Teams are collaborating to restore the habitat of the native European Olympia oyster so that it once again supports the biodiversity that depends on it and improves water quality. The Nature Conservancy has over twenty years of experience restoring oyster reefs. The organization aims to provide direct technical support to native oyster reef restoration projects across Europe.

“Natural recovery has proven very difficult and has been significantly hampered due to destructive fishing practices that have removed the shell base from the reefs, making it unsuitable for oyster larvae to settle on,” said Carolyn Passey. , general manager of Mary Kay United. Kingdom and Ireland. “It has also been compounded by the introduction of disease and predators. We are very grateful for the work The Nature Conservancy is doing in conjunction with NORA to mitigate the damage and help recover some of the habitats of this very useful and beautiful creature – the European oyster.

Oyster restoration in Europe is progressing in Germany, the Netherlands and Britain and is growing rapidly in areas where the native European oyster was historically prevalent. Over the past century, the habitat has collapsed, and in most areas live specimens are rarely found. This project develops methods for the long-term restoration of oyster stocks and works to overcome barriers to the restoration of oyster reefs in the region.

“Oyster reefs are vital to the health of the surrounding ecosystem as they provide significant structural and ecological benefits to the European marine environment; helping to stabilize sediment and improve water quality by filtering impurities and recycling nutrients. They provide vital food and habitat for coastal wildlife, including essential fish species,” said Elke Kopp, general manager of Mary Kay Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. “We are very pleased to partner with The Nature Conservancy to address the loss of wild native oysters (Ostrea edulis). Their teams have worked hard to promote the reintroduction of the species to restore critical marine biodiversity and improve water quality across Europe.

“Oyster reefs are among the best investments we can make in the conservation of natural systems,” said Dr. Elizabeth McLeod, who leads reef conservation for TNC’s Global Reef Program. “Healthy oyster populations ensure cleaner water and help protect coastal areas and the people who live there from the impacts of climate change. With the support of funders like Mary Kay, TNC can restore and protect these important systems for the long term. »

Mary Kay’s partnership with TNC and the NORA Network will support projects that protect marine biodiversity and resources across Europe. Examples include:

    • Blackwater, Crouch, Roach and Colne Estuaries Marine Conservation Area (MCZ): This 284 square kilometer marine protected area was designated in 2013 for native oysters and native oyster beds. By area, it is the largest restoration project in Europe.
    • The Solent (the strait that separates the Isle of Wight from the British mainland): its oyster populations have been exploited since Roman times. In fact, between 1972 and 2006 it was the largest self-sustaining oyster fishery in Europe. However, overfishing, disease and predation caused its collapse and eventual closure in 2013 with very limited and occasional access to anglers since then.
  • OYSTER RESTORATION in Continental Europe
    • The German North Sea: This area is typical of much of Europe where the native European oyster was historically widespread, but has been classified as functionally extinct since the mid-20th century. Individual live specimens are only rarely found and the species is on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. This project develops and tests offshore methods for the long-term restoration of oyster stocks in the region.

“Mary Kay is proud to support The Nature Conservancy’s work to help reintroduce the native European oyster to restore essential marine biodiversity,” said Deborah Gibbins, Chief Operating Officer of Mary Kay. “The Nature Conservancy’s vast experience in restoring oyster reefs on four continents gives us confidence in their efforts to revitalize these rare and critically endangered habitats in European marine waters. At Mary Kay, we strive to leave the planet better than we found it. This includes protecting creatures large and small.

About The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so nature and people can thrive together. We fight climate change, conserve land, water and oceans on an unprecedented scale, provide food and water sustainably, and help make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that involves local communities, governments, the private sector and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.


One of the first to shatter the glass ceiling, Mary Kay Ash founded the beauty company of her dreams in 1963 with one goal: to enrich the lives of women. That dream has turned into a multi-billion dollar business with millions of independent sales force members in nearly 40 countries. As an entrepreneurship development company, Mary Kay is committed to empowering women on their journey through education, mentorship, advocacy, networking and innovation. Mary Kay is committed to investing in the science behind beauty and manufacturing cutting-edge skincare, color cosmetics, nutritional supplements and fragrances. Mary Kay believes in enriching lives today for a sustainable future, partnering with organizations around the world focused on promoting business excellence, supporting cancer research, promoting equality, protecting survivors of domestic violence, beautifying our communities and encouraging children to achieve their dreams. . Learn more at, find us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, or follow us on Twitter.

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