There is an urgent need to redirect financial resources to the restoration, protection and active management of marine resources, which are among the most important natural resources on the planet.
In 2022, Earth Overshoot Day falls on this Thursday, July 28. It marks the day of the year when we have exhausted our planet’s annual resource budget. In a recent commentary, Jamie Jenkins, head of global ESG equities at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, writes that in an ocean crisis characterized by marine pollution and declining marine animal populations, there is an urgent need to redirect financial resources to restore, protect and proactively manage marine life. resources, which are among the most important natural resources on the planet. Jenkins elaborates: “There is certainly an urgent need to act, but the opportunities for value creation are also significant. If managed rationally, the ocean can be an exceptional asset that can be very beneficial to society and the economy.” The premise is that all stakeholders – companies, investors and regulators – must work together towards this goal. The expert also highlights the economic value of the oceans, which, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature, is 24 trillion US dollars and generates about 2.5 trillion US dollars worth of goods and services every year.
Creating a blue economy for ocean restoration as an investment perspective
“Despite the alarming headlines, we believe that the ocean can be revived and that the transition to a ‘blue’ economy can bring many social and economic benefits. “Rational management, for example, would increase the world’s marine catch by 13% compared to the current level,” Jenkins confidently asserts. According to him, it is about promoting clean technologies, investing in renewable energy sources and encouraging recycling of materials in order to reduce waste. “In practical terms for investors, this means we are focusing our efforts on restoring natural resources, building ocean resilience and supporting new developments and approaches that facilitate the transition.” For investors, investing in ocean health is attractive due to the wide range of eligible investments. He believes that companies that pursue science-based goals are at the forefront of change.
Critical dialogue with companies
According to Jenkins, the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the goals that underpin them provide a common language between responsible investors and portfolio companies to promote positive change. Goal 14, namely the protection and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources, is directly related to this goal. “We are witnessing a loss of biodiversity, particularly due to industrial degradation and overfishing; we study climate change in areas such as financing carbon-intensive industries and shipping; and we look at pollution and the impact of packaging and chemicals, as well as waste management,” explains the investment expert. Dialogue with companies is bearing fruit. For example, Columbia Threadneedle, working with Asian food manufacturer Vitasoy, helped the company conduct a life-cycle analysis of the plastic, glass and cardboard used in its operations in China and improve the packaging of some of its bottles in recyclable plastic, reducing the company’s plastic consumption . by 90 tons last year.