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Mathilda D’Silva | Women of Power 2022

Mathilda D'Silva

Founder and CEO of Ocean Purpose Project

With no professional background in ocean conservation or environmental science, Mathilda D’Silva left her corporate job in 2020 to start social enterprise Ocean Purpose Project (OPP) – proving that passion and purpose can do wonders.

Seven years ago, after participating in a dragon boat competition in Boracay, Philippines, Mathilda fell terribly ill and was hospitalised. She later discovered that the idyllic island’s clear waters were heavily polluted with untreated wastewater from sewage pipes, causing her to develop autoimmune diseases.

As someone who enjoys being active and on the go, Mathilda’s life changed completely. “I had to find some kind of purpose behind all of it,” she says. This took shape as OPP, which works to solve the ocean plastic crisis by converting waste plastic into fuel and hydrogen, bioremediation (creating bioplastics from seaweed and mussels used to filter toxins and capture carbon), and behavioural change through community projects.

“The word ‘purpose’ is embedded in the company name because OPP is my way of preventing what happened to me from ever happening again to anybody, and finding a solution to all of that ocean pollution that caused it,” she adds.

What Mathilda lacks in environmental expertise, she makes up for with her natural aptitude for connecting people and community building. Through OPP, she is working to create an ecosystem involving various players – from researchers and scientists to fish farmers and experts in the petrochemical and plastics industries. Her current goal is to attain enough funds and investments to carry out the proposed engineered solutions on a larger scale, to make the larger impact she believes they are capable of.

Mathilda wears the Hublot Big Bang One Click King Gold White Diamonds 33mm

Photography: Bryan Foong/BF Studio; Art Direction: Audrey Chan; Hair: Christvian Wu; Makeup: Wee Ming, using Dior Beauty