For a Healthy and Productive Ocean

Setting clear and shared expectations industry-wide for ocean sustainability

Sustainable Ocean Principles

Sustainable Ocean Principles

The ocean is vital to the wellbeing and prosperity of humankind. To achieve the world community’s ambitions as laid out in the Sustainable Development Goals, there is a need to expand our use of the ocean to produce food, energy, raw materials and transportation. Carrying out these activities in a sustainable manner will contribute to reducing global warming and environmental degradation. Ensuring a healthy ocean provides significant opportunities for business and global economic growth.

As described in Goal 14 on Life Below Water, there is an urgent need to protect and restore the health of the ocean, which is rapidly deteriorating due to increasing temperatures, acidification, depletion of natural resources and pollution from land and sea. Businesses have a shared responsibility, alongside Government and civil society, to take necessary actions to secure a healthy ocean.

These Sustainable Ocean Principles, produced in consultation with over 300 stakeholders, provide a framework for responsible business practices across sectors and geographies. They build upon and supplement the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

Sign the Sustainable Ocean Principles

Deliver on the 17 Goals - 5 tipping points for Ocean

The ocean is vital to the wellbeing and prosperity of humankind. To achieve the world community’s ambitions as laid out in the Sustainable Development Goals, there is a need to expand our use of the ocean to produce food, energy, raw materials and transportation. Carrying out these activities in a sustainable manner will contribute to reducing global warming and environmental degradation. Ensuring a healthy ocean provides significant opportunities for business and global economic growth. As described in Goal 14 on Life Below Water, there is an urgent need to protect and restore the health of the ocean, which is rapidly deteriorating due to increasing temperatures, acidification, depletion of natural resources and pollution from land and sea. Businesses have a shared responsibility, alongside Government and civil society, to take necessary actions to secure a healthy ocean. Based on the «Global Goals, Ocean Opportunities Report», produced in consultation with over 300 stakeholders, the following five tipping points provide a set of tangible objectives to address ocean sustainability challenges:

  • Fully traceable seafood
  • Set sail for zero
  • Ocean electricity
  • Mapping the Ocean
  • Zero waste entering the ocean

A sustainable ocean also makes good business sense. Ensuring a healthy and sustainable marine environment is not only necessary for ocean companies to continue to operate in the long-term, innovating and investing in new ocean solutions also provides a significant business opportunity. In the lead-up to the second UN Ocean Conference in Portugal in 2020, and as we approach the decade of delivery for the Global Goals, much more work must be done, and all companies have to put their hands on deck if we want to succeed.

Global Goals, Ocean Opportunities

To solve the ocean challenge, the UN Global Compact Sustainable Ocean Business Action Platform is proud to launch the Global Goals, Ocean Opportunities report — laying out how the ocean can be the key to achieving the Global Goals.

In the next decade, we can:
  • Improve ocean health by preventing pollution and litter from entering the ocean.
  • Map the ocean around the world, pioneering innovative research and discovering new insights.
  • Make healthy food from the ocean available to all.
  • Provide affordable, clean energy to people everywhere.
  • Produce low-emission solutions for global maritime transport, facilitating a cleaner, more efficient provider of trade and growth.
  • Ensure a well-governed ocean through coherent public-private partnerships.

All sectors of society must work together to leverage ocean sustainability, not only to protect the ocean itself, but to ensure people and planet can prosper and thrive. Through our Action Platform on Sustainable Ocean Business, the UN Global Compact will continue to work with all partners to drive business action for the ocean, helping to fulfil the core promise of the 2030 Agenda: leave no one behind.

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