What is the blue economy?
Development of the parts of the economy tied to the ocean must take place within a sustainable framework if we are to provide social and economic benefits for current and future generations.
The term “blue economy” means different things to different people. For some, it is equivalent to the “green economy” and therefore only encompasses activities that are environmentally friendly. For others – including Deutsche Bank – it refers to all economic activity linked to the ocean.
In line with our partner the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA), we use the term “sustainable blue economy” to mean economic activity linked to the ocean that takes place within a framework designed to protect the environment, conserve natural resources and allow for equitable development.
We make the distinction of sustainability to focus our attention on the aspects of the blue economy that will allow us to:
restore and maintain the diversity, resilience and productivity of marine ecosystems;
eliminate pollution and waste, for example with the use of renewable energy; and
provide social and economic benefits for current and future generations.
The blue economy: All economic activity linked to the ocean
The sustainable blue economy: Economic activity linked to the ocean that takes place within a framework designed to protect the environment, conserve natural resources and allow for equitable development
Why is a sustainable blue economy so vital?
The blue economy will carry significant risks for investors until governance improves and sustainable practices are adopted broadly. We believe the private, public and third sectors must work together on rules, regulations and frameworks that conserve the ocean’s resources for the common good.
Climate change is reducing the ability of the ocean to help regulate our climate by absorbing CO2, and there is a considerable threat to coastal areas from rising sea levels, as the polar ice caps melt and extreme weather events become more frequent.
Human activity continues to harm marine ecosystems, from plastic pollution to unsustainable practices in shipping and fishing. Yet many vulnerable coastal communities depend on ocean resources for their economic prosperity.
Private capital, in addition to government funding, is therefore needed to encourage innovation and the creation of blue value chains that unleash the economic potential of the ocean in a sustainable way.
Facts about the blue economy
Value equivalent to the eighth largest economy in the world, compared with national economies
Includes assets valued at $24 trillion
Generates $2.5 trillion a year in economic value
Fishing and fish processing
Shipbuilding and repairs
Offshore energy sources (wind, oil and gas, sea power)
Developments in offshore wind energy will need to accelerate if we are to transition away from fossil fuels and mitigate climate change.
Significant investment in marine infrastructure will be required to help coastal cities adapt to sea-level rise.
Advances in marine aquaculture – the farming of fish, plants and other marine organisms – will be needed to feed the world’s growing population.
1 Source: World Wide Fund for Nature, https://www.worldwildlife.org/publications/reviving-the-oceans-economy-the-case-for-action-2015
There is currently a lack of uniform criteria and a common market standard for the assessment and classification of financial services and financial products as sustainable. This can lead to different providers assessing the sustainability of financial services and financial products differently. In addition, there are various new regulations on ESG (Environment, Social and Corporate Governance) and Sustainable Finance, which need to be substantiated, and additional regulations are currently being developed, which may lead to financial services and financial products currently labeled as sustainable not meeting future legal requirements for qualification as sustainable.
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