Healthy, Productive and Well-Governed Oceans

Businesses depending on and impacting the ocean can play a key role in delivering on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

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Sustainable Ocean Business

Every second breath we take comes from the ocean. Connected to all life on this planet, the ocean is our greatest global common, uniting both people and nations. How we protect and manage the ocean will determine much of our success towards delivering the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, and businesses that are connected to the ocean have a critical role to play.

Today, more and more businesses around the world are taking an interest in ocean sustainability. The UN Global Compact Action Platform for Sustainable Ocean Business brings diverse companies, civil society organizations and Governments together with the UN to find new ways for companies to navigate the ocean challenge, using our Ten Principles on human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption as their North Star.

The Action Platform has developed the Sustainable Ocean Principles in order to emphasize the responsibility of businesses to take necessary actions to secure a healthy ocean. The nine principles cover three areas: ocean health and productivity, governance and engagement, and data and transparency. Signatories confirm their endorsement of the principles and commit to integrating the framework provided for responsible business practices in the ocean. Private sector commitments such as these are critical steps in the lead-up to the 2020 UN Ocean Conference. The principles will be officially launched on September 23 during the UN General Assembly.

Creating Tipping Points for the Ocean

The rapid deterioration of ocean health deeply affects biodiversity, coastal communities and the health of the planet. This deterioration is, like climate change, caused by human activity. And like climate change, the business community can make a transformational impact on the health of our ocean. The interlinkages between climate action and ocean health can no longer be ignored, nor can the connection between the ocean and all 17 Global Goals.

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. We need to reach a tipping point where a critical mass of companies is working together to ensure the ocean is sustainably managed.

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 we need your company to join the movement.

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.

Take Ocean Action today

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