Benedicte HAMON (SKEMA 2010), a career in the environmental field

12 December 2021 Interview

Benedicte Hamon, a graduate of the Class of 2010, manages partner relationships at The SeaCleaners. This association was founded in 2016 by skipper Yvan Bourgnon, with the ambition of designing and launching a giant 46-metre-long catamaran, the Manta, to collect plastic waste at sea and along coastlines.

Could you introduce yourself in a few words?

My name is Benedicte Hamon; I’m a graduate of the SKEMA Class of 2010 and I work for a non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting the oceans and combatting plastics pollution. I’m in charge of managing the relationships with our partners.

What were the high points of your time at SKEMA?

From an academic and professional point of view, I would say the moment I started the first year of my sandwich master’s programme and discovered a line of work I wasn’t aware of before. I’ve been working in it for 13 years now, so I’d say it was a good choice ;). On a personal level, the high points that come to mind are those with the student associations – I’m sure the students and alumni will be able to relate.

These days you work for The SeaCleaners, managing partner relationships. Can you tell us more about this non-profit organisation and what your job involves?

It’s a rather young organisation, founded in 2016. Its mission is to combat ocean plastics pollution by, among other things, building the Manta, an innovative boat that will be able to collect, process and recover large amounts of floating waste. It is due to set sail in 2024. We’re already taking action with a first, smaller plastics recovery boat, but also by running waste clean-up campaigns on land and a number of initiatives to raise awareness in the general public. The SeaCleaners’ projects and actions are almost exclusively privately funded, and my job is to come up with and implement the advantages we offer our partners, but also the individual philanthropists that support us.




What led you to now work in the field of ecology? Was it because of environmental convictions?

Yes, definitely! It’s a domain I wanted to get involved in on a personal level and that guided this slight career shift, since before this I was already in the field of corporate sponsorship, but in the cultural sector. Since it’s only relatively recently that both companies and individuals have become more aware of the environmental issues and keen to act, this makes relations with sponsors very interesting: there are still a lot of things to think up and to do, and the people I deal with on a daily basis are really committed, passionate and creative!


How and when did you start to develop an interest in sustainable development and in your societal and environmental responsibility?

Just as for many people, I think, it’s quite recent. I’d say it was a few years ago now that I started to question things and change some of my behaviours and consumption habits... But very superficially, although it was a good start! Then I became interested in the issue from a broader perspective, looking beyond my own habits. It’s quite difficult because that is when you realise both the urgency of the situation and the aberration of certain behaviours in this context. Fortunately, you also discover many ways to take action and solutions that are really motivating!


Was it important for you to maintain ties with SKEMA?

Yes, I’m very far from being the most active person within the alumni community. Opportunities, like this one, to share positive experiences and initiatives illustrate the role and power of a community of alumni particularly well.

What could the SKEMA community do to help you or The SeaCleaners?

As Partner Relationship Manager, I owe it to myself to say that all contributors are welcome, to allow us to bring the Manta project to fruition and so that we can continue to develop all of our initiatives. It is also possible to join our community of volunteers to take action alongside us, whether it’s to collect, to raise awareness, to coordinate, etc. We have 14 regional delegations in France, to enable everyone to take action close to their home, and we also have more and more overseas, too, that adapt to the desires, skills and, of course, the availability of each person. It’s also possible to simply follow us on social media to read and share our news and the content we post to raise awareness of the behaviours that will make it possible to reduce plastics pollution in our oceans.



What are your plans for the future?

In the short term, enable all of The SeaCleaners’ plans and projects to come to fruition, and the companies that support us to significantly improve their impact. In the medium term, to continue to contribute to reversing as many rather concerning trends as possible when it comes to our environment. And long term... we’ll see!

What would be your message for SKEMA students and alumni wanting to get involved in sustainable development and/or ecology?

It’s always possible to get involved and have an impact, whether it’s just by giving a few hours or a few euros to a non-profit organisation – there are many and they cover a wide variety of domains –, or simply by changing the way you behave and consume. And besides individual actions, collective efforts are also developing within companies; identify the people who manage them in yours and if there aren’t any, why not step up yourself?


Contact: Benedicte Hamon, Partner Relationship Manager at The SeaCleaners