The latest Prestige ClimateInvest podcast looks at the relative lack of investment into projects associated with the world’s oceans. On the podcast we have Nuno Battaglia, Chairman of Algarve Partners, who talks about his passion for the sea, but also how his family office is prioritising investments designed to support food security and help to preserve Atlantic fisheries stocks.
While there has been plenty written about the ‘green economy’ there is far less being done around the ‘blue economy’ despite the huge importance of the role played by oceans in our climate. According to the World Wide Fund For Nature, the asset base of the oceans has been very conservatively valued at USD 24 trillion a year. With the introduction of the new UN High Seas Treaty, which was signed on 5 March, more can be done to protect ocean environments outside national territorial waters. Yet sadly current efforts don’t look like they will be sufficient.
The sea remains a vital natural resource for the planet, not only covering over 70% of the world’s surface, but also supporting the livelihoods of nearly 40% of the world’s population. The UN’s 14th Sustainable Development Goal calls on the human race to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.
The ocean continues to face numerous challenges from the human population, including continuing ocean acidification and damage to coral reefs. According to the UN, in 2021 alone more than 17 million metric tons of plastic entered the world’s oceans, and this is currently projected to at least double by 2040.
Part of this neglect stems no doubt from the fact that humans are land animals, with a tendency to focus on their immediate environment, but this has led to us ignoring the importance of the sea. Many of the climate investment solutions currently being backed deal with either the land or the air, those areas most easily accessible by air breathers.
Nuno Battaglia recently took part in a large investor event in Lisbon, Portugal, which discussed what could be done to help preserve the environment in our seas. On the podcast he also talks about some of the projects his family office has invested in. But as he argues, there remains a dearth of private investment projects even for dedicated ocean funds to invest in.
While there has been quite a bit of strategic funding of blue economy investment from government and supra-national entities, there remains a gap between this and the involvement of private capital.
According to Deloitte, in 2009 developed countries around the world committed to a global climate change budget of USD 100 billion per year by 2020. The OECD says developed countries spent around USD 80 billion in 2019 on the oceans. In a 2021 paper Deloitte observes “there is a significant lack of existing or scalable mechanisms designed by governments, NGOs and international agencies to incentivise or mandate private sector investment in ocean restoration.”
Much still needs to be done.
To hear the podcast please click here.