29 Oct 2018 - Launched at the Our Ocean conference, these principles are set to become the gold standard to invest in the “blue economy” in a sustainable way.
The Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles were developed by the European Commission, WWF, World Resources Institute (WRI), and the European Investment Bank (EIB). Started as a commitment by a dozen financial institutions and key stakeholders just a year ago, they are now set to become the gold standard to invest in the ocean economy—the “blue economy”—in a sustainable way.
Bringing sustainability into the boardrooms
Ocean ecosystems are under enormous pressure. With growth of the blue economy expected to double over the next decade, action is urgently needed to reverse this trend. Sustainable finance is a powerful solution. By engaging investors, insurers and banks, the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles bring sustainability into the boardrooms of all ocean-based industries, from shipping, fisheries and tourism, to aquaculture, energy and biotechnology.
To put the principles into practice, an IT-based tool is being developed to help investment managers assess whether their investment decisions are verifiably sustainable. The organisations behind the principles are convinced that this will show in practice how profitability can go hand-in-hand with environmental and social stewardship, and how UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources” can be achieved.
Broad international endorsement
The Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles will become part of a new sustainable blue economy finance initiative under the auspices of the UN Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), which joins the European Commission, WWF, WRI and the EIB as a founding partner. The initiative, anticipated for 2019, will receive initial support from the European Commission.
The principles are endorsed by the major international sustainable finance initiatives, including UN Environment’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative (PSI) and the World Bank.
A growing number of financial institutions and stakeholders have already endorsed the initiative, including Alimentos Ventures, Aloe Private Equity, Althelia Ecosphere, Bonafide Ltd., Boston Common Asset Management, Fishing Accelerator, Greenbackers Investment Capital, the International Capital Market Association, Investas – Association luxembourgeoise des investisseurs privés, Mermaid Investments, Ocean Assets Institute, the Ocean Data Alliance, Pure Salmon, The Nature Conservancy, Rockefeller Asset Management, SeaAhead, SKY - Ocean Rescue Fund and 8F Asset Management.
With the new UN Environment-hosted sustainable blue economy finance initiative planned for 2019, it is expected that many more institutions will come on board. Meanwhile, interested organisations can consult "Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles".
What the founding partners say about the initiative
Pavan Sukhdev, President of WWF International, said, ““Without the valuable guidance that these principles provide, there is a real risk that poorly-directed investments could lead to unsustainable marine and coastal development, further eroding the health of ocean ecosystems and the resource base on which our future well-being depends. We are delighted that by signing on to these Principles a growing number of progressive institutions and companies are now demonstrating their commitment to healthy oceans and a sustainable blue economy.”