New Discovery in Connection to World Water Day
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Investments in the Blue Economy Pay for Itself
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Today is World Water Day – a day that draws attention to the need for initiatives from all parts of society to preserve marine areas. For a country like Sweden, a new wave of sea investment is needed, especially with the Baltic Sea being one of the world's most polluted seas. In connection with World Water Day, the Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) and Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce of the USA, Inc. (SACC-USA) present a new report that concludes that “blue investments" pay for themselves.
Billions of people around the world depend on the oceans. The well-being of the oceans is crucial for our health, food supply, and millions of jobs around the world. However, since 2000, natural disasters related to flooding have increased by 134%. Water-based natural disasters and other environmental impacts caused approximately $509.62B in global economic losses in 2022.
Sweden and the United States have developed significant water-based research and innovation clusters aimed at conserving the oceans. However, there are still additional economic and environmental benefits that could be gained through further investment.
“Innovation needs to be central to every climate change discussion, particularly when it comes to water. ‘Business as usual’ is not going to cut it. We need to do more to promote breakthroughs to ensure the future is sustainable,” says Stephen Jordan, CEO of ISD.
In the new report titled “Building the Blue Innovation Pipeline: Lessons Learned from the United States and Sweden,” ISD and SACC-USA find that water-based research and development (R&D) is underfunded by at least 112%. A global increase of $30-50B of investment in the blue economy would pay for itself in approximately $183B worth of enhanced hazard mitigation, reduced disaster recovery costs, enhanced maritime market growth, and new job creation.
“Promoting innovation for climate solutions is a top priority. At the same time, water-based research and development has fallen behind compared to other areas of development. This must change,” says Karin Hammar, CEO of SACC-USA.
The private sector is responsible for the majority (71%) of all water-based research. There is also a need for greater government commitment to water-based research and innovation. Below are some of the recommendations proposed to governments, as well as to other industries and businesses that need to play their part to increase blue innovation.
Governments should benchmark their current blue innovation R&D budgets and increase support for basic research to 50%, 75%, or 100% of best-in-class R&D funding levels.
Governments should create policy frameworks that incentivize private capital investment, innovation prizes, education and workforce development programs, and other support systems for innovation pipelines.
Governments should not pick winners and losers, but rather, encourage competitions, diverse approaches, and multiple innovation hubs to flourish.
All sectors should strengthen business incubator and accelerator support systems, as well as capabilities that leverage ports, industrial parks, research parks, and other facilities.
After-action reviews and criticisms of existing approaches should by systematized across all sectors. Catalysts for new ideas should be embraced in a spirit of promoting continuous improvement.
All sectors should develop both catalytic tools to raise awareness for research questions AND catalytic incentives, like the Nobel Prize or Ocean Observing Prize.
For more information, see the whole report here:
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