Can ocean health lead to wealth? Our latest House on Fire podcast tackles blue finance

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: James Bray, Podcast producer,

  • Episode six of House on Fire looks at the potential of blue finance to clean and conserve the ocean.
  • Private investment in ocean solutions could make huge economic and environmental gains.
  • Other episodes in the House on Fire series will focus on direct air capture, alternative meats, shipping decarbonization, and more.
  • Find the other World Economic Forum podcasts here

The sixth episode of House on Fire looks at the potential of blue finance. Can ocean solutions be economically as well as environmentally profitable? If so, could private finance unlock the innovation needed to reverse ocean degradation?

The ocean is estimated to generate an annual value of $1.5 trillion per year, making it the world’s seventh largest economy. But it’s under pressure from a long list of harmful human activities, topped by ocean plastic, rising temperatures and coral bleaching.

In this episode, former EU fisheries minister Maria Damanaki tells us how private investment can make a profit out of ocean investment while restoring and protecting marine health. We speak to a range of investors who agree with her logic, as well as the entrepreneurs hoping to fund smart solutions to oceanic issues via the World Economic Forum’s new Uplink platform.

How UpLink is helping to find innovations to solve challenges like this

UpLink is a digital platform to crowdsource innovations in an effort to address the world’s most pressing challenges.

It is an open platform designed to engage anyone who wants to offer a contribution for the global public good. The core objective is to link up the best innovators to networks of decision-makers, who can implement the change needed for the next decade. As a global platform, UpLink serves to aggregate and guide ideas and impactful activities, and make connections to scale-up impact.

Hosted by the World Economic Forum, UpLink is being designed and developed in collaboration with Salesforce, Deloitte and LinkedIn.

UpLink is now running the COVID Social Justice Challenge, which aims to tackle social inequalities and injustices within the COVID response and recovery.

Kristian Teleki is the director of the Friends of Ocean Action platform and oversaw this year’s inaugural Uplink competition on the ocean. He describes what it’s like to matchmake investors with creative entrepreneurs who want to see impact on the ocean.

We meet Olivier Raybaud, who blended a lifelong passion for the sea with significant financial acumen to create Blue Ocean Partners, an investment vehicle for ocean impact solutions.

On the other side of the table we talk to: John Seal, CEO of Oceanium, a start-up looking to make a wide range of products from sustainable seaweed; Roger Larsen of Pinovo, which has developed a new technology to eliminate plastic pollution from sandblasting of maritime assets like ships and oil rigs; Ahsan Tariq of CubeX, which uses blockchain technology to eliminate waste in the global shipping industry.

These are just a few of the hundreds of start-ups looking to attract capital for their schemes to save the ocean, whether in coral or mangrove restoration, plastic clean-up, marine conservation zones, or anything else. Will they succeed and what difference can they make?

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