An Ocean of Opportunities - Blue Investments Pay for Themselves
Updated: Mar 27
Pictured: Karin Hammar, CEO of SACC-USA (left), and Stephen Jordan, CEO of ISD (right). Photos courtesy of Hampus Knutsson.
As originally published in Aktuell Hållbarhet, Sweden's largest independent newspaper on environmental and climate issues and sustainable development, on March 22, 2023: https://www.aktuellhallbarhet.se/alla-nyheter/debatt/haven-dor--bla-investeringar-betalar-sig-sjalva/. Translated from Swedish to English.
Sweden needs a new wave of ocean investment. These investments will pay for themselves, stated Stephen Jordan and Karin Hammar, who lead the Institute for Sustainable Development and Swedish American Chambers of Commerce of the USA (respectively) on World Water Day.
The well-being of the oceans is crucial for our health, food supply, and millions of jobs around the world. But at the same time, the oceans are dying – if we continue to litter the world's oceans at current rates, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050.
Since 2000, natural disasters related to flooding have increased by 134%. Water-related disasters and other environmental impacts caused global losses of approximately SEK 5,400 billion last year.
Today, SACC-USA and ISD presented a joint report that states that water-based research and development is globally underfunded by at least 112%. A global increase of SEK 300–500 billion of investments in the blue economy would pay for itself in the form of reduced risks, lowered costs for disaster recovery, increased maritime market growth, and new job creation.
The Swedish government has many reasons to think blue when investing, not least because investments in the blue economy will pay back more than double.
Here are four pieces of advice to the Swedish government to enable further investment in the blue economy:
Identify and prioritize the needs of the blue economy, then adapt this to the basic research investments of the public sector.
Raise awareness of pressing research questions, both in terms of environmental challenges and market opportunities in the blue economy.
Establish policy frameworks that incentivize private capital investment, education and workforce development programs, and other support systems for innovation and development in the blue economy.
Facilitate dialogues, meetings, and opportunities for information exchange between companies, academia, and the public sector.
Research organizations such as the Centre for Sea and Society, Linnaeus Center for Marine Evolutionary Biology, Kristineberg Center for Marine Research and Innovation, and Stockholm Environment Institute are leading innovation in the blue economy, but still, more needs to be done. On this World Water Day, let us make a commitment to innovation and achieving blue sustainability.
CEO, Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD)
Karin Hammar CEO, Swedish American Chambers of Commerce of the USA (SACC-USA)
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