The blue economy is the 7th largest in the world, worth nearly $25tr in asset value. Despite this, it is drastically underinvested from a public and private capital point of view. Estimates suggest that $520bn is lost annually in economic activity and 26 million people are forced into poverty due to costal natural disasters and ocean degradation.
Preserving our oceans is highlighted by the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, but it also has critical links to many other SDGs. Almost half the global population relies on seafood as their primary source of protein, which helps to address SDG 2, “zero hunger”. Around 60m people are employed in fisheries and aquaculture, the majority of whom operate in small-scale enterprises in developing countries, contributing to SDG 8, “decent work and economic growth”. Our oceans generate 50% of the Earth’s oxygen and absorb 25% of all carbon emissions, which are important for people’s health (SDG 3) and climate action (SDG 13). The health of our oceans impact everyone, but particularly those at the bottom of the economic pyramid. In this way, addressing ocean pollution and advocating for ocean conservation not only has an environmental benefit, but ultimately also a profound economic one.
Given the sheer scale of the issue at hand and the imminent threat to our oceans, we have deliberately kept our brief broad, hoping to attract entrepreneurs with a wide range of solutions that help reverse or prevent damage to our oceans. Credit Suisse is a strong believer in collaborative partnerships and is keen to support young entrepreneurs with innovative and original businesses in the field.
Credit Suisse has already helped to foster partnerships in the ocean conservation space. We hosted the first Impact Roundtable on Marine Conservation in Lisbon in May 2018, utilising our convening power to attract partners and capital. The event connected marine conservation experts and practitioners, leading investors and philanthropists across the globe to further progress in ocean conservation and help advance and create investible solutions to restore ocean health. We believe that we can harness our global network of experts to help support the winner of our Lead2030 Challenge.
Additionally, Credit Suisse has supported thought leadership in the space to raise awareness about the dawning threat to our oceans. Our “Age of Plastics” report, highlighted the damaging effects of plastics on our oceans and trends in single-use plastics. Our “Responsible Consumer” report provided an insight to the circular economy and the unintended consequences for our oceans due to irresponsible consumption and production behaviour.
Recognising the imminent need to channel capital towards ocean conservation, CS recently launched a for-return product to offer to its clients, in conjunction with the World Bank, which helps finance ocean conservation projects ranging from the creation of Marine Protected Areas to helping prevent marine waste.
Credit Suisse is proud to support the Lead 2030 Challenge for SDG 14. The Challenge aims to surface and support impactful enterprises that look to further narrow the gap in achieving SDG 14. Credit Suisse welcomes entrepreneurs with for-profit enterprises that help improve ocean health, in any form, to submit their business plan for consideration.
Our challenge invites participants from the examples below, however not restricted to, solutions that could protect and/or restore existing ocean based resources. For example:
Reducing marine waste (along any part of the value chain)
Alternatives to single use plastic packaging/materials
Support sustainable aquaculture practices
Provide marine conservation benefits
Alternatively, solutions linked to opportunities for enhanced or new economic activity derived from the ocean. For example:
Ocean related energy
Blue carbon initiatives
Minimise shipping contribution to climate change
Application Deadline: 5 January 2020
Source: Lead 2030
Illustration Photo: Seaweed farming at Nusa Lembongan, Bali (credits: Jean-Marie Hullot / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0))