European Commission, Partners Launch ‘Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles’
Photo by Andrzej Kryszpiniuk
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The ‘Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles’ aim to engage investors, insurers and banks “to bring sustainability into the boardrooms of all ocean-based industries”.

The 14 Principles include seven recognized principles for sustainable investment and seven principles focused on the blue economy.

29 October 2018: The European Commission (EC), European Investment Bank (EIB), World Resources Institute (WRI) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) launched the world’s first global framework to finance a sustainable ocean economy at the fifth edition of the Our Ocean Conference. The principles will promote implementation and achievement of SDG 14 (life below water) and ensure that ocean-related investment delivers long-term value without negatively impacting marine ecosystems, carbon emission reductions or the livelihoods of people who depend on the oceans and their resources.

The launch of the ‘Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles’ follows a commitment by the partners at the 2017 Our Ocean Conference to support the development of a sustainable blue economy. To support this goal, the organizations agreed to develop a set of sustainability principles to guide investment in and financing decisions on the blue economy, with the aim of announcing the principles in 2018. The organizations developed the principles with support from Accenture Development Partnerships, following broad consultation with finance, industry, insurance companies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles put forward 14 Principles: seven recognized principles for sustainable investment and seven principles focused on the blue economy. The Principles set out ocean-specific standards while avoiding duplication of existing responsible investment frameworks and complying with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standards and the EIB Environmental and Social Principles and Standards. The Principles provide guidance on how to ensure that investments support more sustainable marine and coastal development and ensure the sustainability of ocean ecosystems. The Principles aim to engage investors, insurers and banks “to bring sustainability into the boardrooms of all ocean-based industries,” including aquaculture, biotechnology, energy, fisheries, shipping and tourism.

This collaborative initiative to finance a sustainable blue economy is not only timely and complementary – it is absolutely urgent and necessary.

To support implementation of the Principles, the organizations are developing an IT-based tool to help investment managers assess whether their investment decisions are verifiably sustainable.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP, or UN Environment) Executive Director, Erik Solheim, said that, amid intensifying threats to the ocean, including unsustainable fishing, plastic pollution, coral reef destruction and ocean acidification, “this collaborative initiative to finance a sustainable blue economy is not only timely and complementary – it is absolutely urgent and necessary.” European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, and EIB Vice President, Jonathan Taylor, both welcomed UNEP’s endorsement of the Principles, stressing that this partnership will help to ensure their successful implementation and application on the ground.

A number of international sustainable finance initiatives, including UNEP’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative (PSI) have endorsed the Principles. The Principles will become part of a new sustainable blue economy finance initiative under the UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), which is also a founding partner in the initiative. The initiative is expected to be launched in 2019 and will receive financial support from the EC.

The Our Ocean Conferences have resulted in over 1,200 concrete, measurable and tracked commitments in support of sustainable management of the world’s oceans. The 2018 Our Ocean Conference took place in Bali, Indonesia, from 29-30 October. [EC Press Release] [EC Webpage on the Principles] [Sustainable Blue Economy Principles] [Sustainable Blue Economy Principles Brochure] [Our Ocean Conference Website]


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