The ocean makes a large and growing contribution to the global economy. The OECD estimates that the size of the ocean economy was around US$1.5trn in 2010, equivalent to some 3% of GDP. By 2030 its contribution is projected to double in size to US$3trn (from 2010 levels), providing full-time employment for around 40m people.
Yet the ocean economy is a long way from becoming a truly sustainable “blue” economy. To achieve this transformation, huge quantities of capital are required to meet challenges such as restoring coastal ecosystems, developing low-carbon shipping fuels and increasing the amount of sustainably farmed seafood.
One of the only positive outcomes to emerge from the recent COP25 climate talks was recognition of the important contribution that ocean solutions can make towards global carbon reduction efforts. Channeling finance towards these solutions will be essential to turn this potential into reality.
Institutional investors are interested
Nine out of ten institutional investors are interested in financing a sustainable ocean economy, according to a survey by Responsible Investor. However, blue finance remains a niche area and few investors have assessed their investment portfolios for ocean-related risks.
Blue finance is also one of the themes of the recent World Ocean Initiative supplement published in The Economist newspaper. One of its articles looks at the need to improve transparency and accountability in sustainable ocean projects to build investor confidence and increase the flow of finance.
Further blue finance coverage on the World Ocean Initiative website includes a guest blog by Marisa Drew, chief executive of impact advisory and finance at Credit Suisse, on innovative ways to finance ocean conservation.
To what extent blue finance is still the missing factor in achieving ocean sustainability is addressed in the short video below.