The People and Companies Providing Ocean Goods and Services are Fundamental to the Future of the Ocean

The People and Companies Providing Ocean Goods and Services are Fundamental to the Future of the Ocean


On World Ocean Day, let’s acknowledge that that the future of the ocean is inextricably intertwined with the ocean economy – the broad range of commercial activity that provides societies with critical ocean goods and services.

The waters around the Solomon Islands are teaming with dolphin, corals, and reef fish. (Photo by: ©James Morgan/CTI-CFF)

The waters around the Solomon Islands are teaming with dolphin, corals, and reef fish.
(Photo by: ©James Morgan/CTI-CFF)

And let’s pay tribute to the millions of men and women who work on, under and around the sea every day to bring us this ocean bounty. They know the ocean better than most everyone else on the planet and care about the ocean that their kids and grandkids will inherit.

Although much of the vast and diverse ocean economy is “out of sight and out of mind” for most, the ocean business community is fundamental to the future of the ocean.

A brief tour of the ocean economy highlights just how much we depend on the ocean business community to provide:

▪ Healthy protein from fisheries, with about 1.3 million fishing vessels, and from fish farms, with aquaculture growing 7% per year the past decades and now producing 50% of seafood;

▪ 90% of international trade through cost- and carbon-efficient delivery via 50,000+ merchant ships crisscrossing the globe;

▪ Growing offshore energy sources that supply about 30% of hydrocarbons, a rapidly increasing amount wind energy, and major wave and current energy potential;

▪ 98% of international telecommunications, carried on more than one million km of submarine cables;

▪ Recreation and tourism options for every ocean interest, with cruise tourism growing at 8.5 % per year in recent decades;

▪ Desalinated seawater to live in our booming coastal cities, with desalination supplying 90% of the freshwater in some countries;

▪ Innovation and technology to discover and document the deepest darkest corners, furthest reaches and extreme conditions of planet ocean;

▪ Ports and coastal infrastructure that all countries depend on for trade and growth; and

▪ Much else that sustains our modern life and growing populations.

However, human use of ocean space and resources is affecting ocean health and sustainability. These effects of sea-based activities are also accompanied by often much more significant land-based sources of impacts, such as municipal wastes, agricultural runoff and plastics.

Ocean industries operate in a fluid, three-dimensional, interconnected ocean. This means industry’s activities, responsbilities, and impacts are also interconnected – as must be industry sustainability efforts. The best efforts by a single company or even a whole industry sector will not be enough to secure ocean health and productivity into the future.

This creates a compelling business case for industry leadership and collaboration in tackling ocean sustainability, stewardship and science. Fortunately, there are many good, smart people in good, smart companies who do their best to understand and address ocean sustainable development. These leadership companies conduct their business in a manner that is compatible with the balanced environmental and economic needs of the communities in which they operate.

To further enhance responsible operations throughout different ocean industry sectors, a group of companies banded together to form the World Ocean Council (WOC) – the international, multi-industry business leadership alliance for
“Corporate Ocean Responsibility”. This collaboration helps identify sustainability risks, gaps and practical cross-sectoral, science-based solutions.

Cross-sectoral WOC teams are putting this unique industry alliance to work on a range of topics, such as ocean policy and governance; marine spatial planning/ocean zoning; invasive species; marine debris/port reception facilities; marine sound; and improved ocean data collection. Robust data-sets, peer-reviewed published science, risk assessments, and use of the best available technologies are essential to these efforts.

An increasing number and range of ocean industry companies from around the world are distinguishing themselves as leaders in “Corporate Ocean Responsibility” by joining the WOC and are collaborating to achieve the “Blue Economy” – a balance of responsible ocean use and sustained ocean health.

At the 3rd WOC Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS), Singapore, 9-11 November 2015, the ocean business community will gather to continue its leadership, collaboration and commitment to sustaining the interconnected environment, people and economy of the ocean. To learn more about SOS 2015, submit an abstract or become a sponsor, visit

WOC Outreach this Month

2 June
Arctic Business Council (Oslo): Invited presentation and session moderator

2-4 June
Nor-Shipping (Oslo): Panelist for both Future of Energy session at the Agenda Offshore conference and for the Ballast Water Ocean Industry Podium session

4-5 June
Economist World Ocean Summit (Lisbon): Plenary speaker on Blue Opportunities/Blue Growth

4-5 June
Blue Business Forum (Lisbon): Panelist for Ocean Literacy session

8-10 June
Capitol Hill Oceans Week (Washington, D.C.): Participant

10-11 June
ATLANTOS project – Optimising and Enhancing the Integrated Atlantic Ocean Observing System (Brussels): Partner in Horizon 2020 project meeting

10-11 June
AQUACROSS project – Knowledge, Assessment, and Management for AQUAtic Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services aCROSS EU Policies (Brussels): Member of Science-Policy-Business Think Tank for Horizon 2020 project meeting

11-12 June
IMO-GESAMP Workshop on Impacts of Mine Tailings in the Marine Environment (Lima): Participant in International Maritime Organization (IMO) and Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Protection (GESAMP) workshop

16-17 June
CIL-ISA Workshop on Exploitation of Minerals in the Area (Singapore): Participant in Centre for International Law (CIL) and International Seabed Authority (ISA) workshop

23-25 June
U.N. Global Compact+15 / ICC Business Association Forum on Sustainable Development (New York): Participant in United Nations (U.N.) and International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) event

Avatar of Coral Triangle Written by Coral Triangle

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