The UN’s World Oceans Day 2021 on 8 June is focused on our oceans as a much-threatened source of life and livelihoods. The day also serves as a declaration of intentions that launches a decade of challenges to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 14, “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources”, by 2030.
The oceans cover more than 70% of our planet and produce at least 50% of our oxygen. They are home to most of Earth’s biodiversity, and the main source of protein for more than a billion people. Moreover, according to the World Economic Forum, they can absorb around one-third of global CO2 emissions.
Preserving the world’s seventh economic power
The oceans are one of the world’s most significant economic keystones: The blue economy provides a livelihood for more than 820 million people and the oceans contain assets estimated at more than USD 2.5 trillion. That makes the blue economy the seventh economic power in the world by GDP.
However, with 90% of big fish populations depleted, and 50% of coral reefs destroyed, mankind is taking more from the oceans than can be replenished. The need to protect and preserve the oceans and all they sustain has never been more critical or urgent.
Mankind needs to create a new balance, rooted in true understanding of the oceans and how humanity relates to it; a connection to the oceans that is inclusive, innovative, and informed by lessons from the past.
Addressing these issues is the focus of World Oceans Day.
Investing in the blue economy for a positive impact and a return
As a global sustainability theme, investing in the blue economy is fully aligned with BNP Paribas Asset Management’s sustainable investment priorities. These are focused on the energy transition, environmental protection, and equality & inclusive growth.
We believe investing in the blue economy will help advance the fight against climate change and ensure that the oceans can continue to function as a sink for carbon emissions from human activity. Such investments are suited for investors with a long-term perspective, an interest in contributing to a greener future and making a positive impact.
The blue economy provides opportunities for investors keen to help finance cutting-edge innovation. The seas and oceans are fertile ground for innovation and experimentation, with new technologies including maritime operations at ever-greater depths, robotics, video surveillance and submersible technologies. The oceans are also a goldmine for biotechnologies in the fields of cosmetics, agri-foods, energy and pharmacology.
However – as World Oceans Day serves to remind us – that will only remain the case if the threats to the oceans’ health are addressed as soon as possible.
For more on the indicators that reflect the rapid rise of the ‘blue economy’ and its growing contribution to business and industry, better living standards and the development of a more responsible global economy, read The blue economy in numbers