Investment in the blue economy | All news

There is an urgent need to redirect financial resources towards the restoration, protection and active management of marine resources, which are among the most important natural resources on the planet.

In 2022, Ecological Debt Day is celebrated this Thursday, July 28th. It marks the day of the year when we exhausted our planet’s annual resource budget. In a recent comment, Jamie Jenkins, Global Head of Equity ESG at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, writes that it is clear that in the face of an ocean crisis characterized by marine pollution and the depletion of marine animal populations, there is an urgent need to redirect financial resources towards the restoration, protection and active management of marine resources that are among the most important natural resources on the planet. Jenkins explains: “Of course, there is an urgent need to act, but the opportunities for value creation are also significant. If managed sustainably, the ocean can be of exceptional value that can be very beneficial to society and the economy.” The precondition is that all stakeholders – companies, investors and regulators – must cooperate to achieve this goal. The expert also highlights the economic value of the oceans, which, according to WWF, is worth $24 trillion and produces about $2.5 trillion worth of goods and services annually.

Building a Blue Economy to Restore the Oceans as an Investment Opportunity

“Despite the worrying headlines, we believe the ocean can recover and the transition to a blue economy could bring many social and economic benefits. Sustainable management, for example, would increase the global seafood fishery by 13% compared to current levels,” says Jenkins. According to him, it is about promoting clean technologies, investing in renewable energy sources and encouraging the recycling of materials in order to reduce waste. “In practice, for investors, this means that we will focus our efforts on restoring natural resources, making the ocean more resilient, and supporting new developments and approaches that facilitate transition.” For equity investors, investing in ocean health is attractive because of the wide range of eligible investments. He believes that companies that pursue science-based goals are at the forefront of change.

Critical dialogue with companies

According to Jenkins, the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the goals that underpin them provide a common language for responsible investors and portfolio companies to drive positive change. SDG 14, namely the protection and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources, is most directly related to this goal. “We are looking at the loss of biodiversity, especially due to industrial degradation and overfishing; we study climate change in areas such as the financing of carbon-intensive industries and shipping; and we are looking at pollution and the impact of packaging and chemicals, as well as waste management,” explains the investment expert. Dialogue with companies is bearing fruit. For example, Columbia Threadneedle, working with Asian food manufacturer Vitasoy, helped the company conduct a life cycle analysis of the plastics, glass and cardboard used in its operations in mainland China and improve the packaging of some of its recycled plastic bottles, reducing the company’s use of plastic. by 90 tons last year.