The transition from a conventional economy in the ocean to a “blue” or sustainable economy could be a tremendous economic and investment opportunity, if done right. The risks and challenges are considerable. A new and intensive phase of economic activity in the ocean is getting underway, but science warns that the seas are facing unprecedented pressures from humans, and that time to save them is quickly running out. So, the idea of the blue economy may be at risk before it has been properly established. For all the “blue-speak” of aligning economic activity with the ocean’s health, the gap between the two can be wide, and the prospect of a sustainable ocean economy could be receding rather than advancing.
Nonetheless, there is no shortage of forward-thinking businesses, industry groups, scientists, governments and ocean advocates putting their minds to the question of how to bring the blue economy into being. Bringing these emerging blue industries to scale is an urgent task, and requires vision, good governance, changes to regulation and behaviour, and, of course, large amounts of capital. In the public sector, the transition will involve sizeable recurring expenditures on institutional and regulatory reform, and on monitoring and enforcement capability. Private-sector investors will need to develop a greater awareness of the opportunities and risks involved in the new, blue economy.
In our fourth World Ocean Summit, we bring a critical eye to the important issue of how the blue economy is to be financed.
How large is the opportunity?
What are the risks involved?
What is sustainable investment in the ocean?
What kind of investment frameworks might be necessary?
What capital is available, and how can it be scaled up?