30 companies and institutional investors have signed up to the UN Global Compact Sustainable Ocean Principles committing to take action to secure a healthy and productive ocean.
The signatories to the principles include the container ship and supply vessel operator A.P. Møller – Mærsk, food and beverage company PepsiCo, and Norges Bank Investment Management, which manages one of the world’s largest funds with over US$ 1 trillion in assets.
“The rapid deterioration of ocean health, which deeply affects biodiversity, coastal communities and the health of the planet, must be urgently addressed,” said Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact. “The deterioration is caused by human activity, and we need to create a tipping point where a critical mass of businesses use their capacity and competence to solve this challenge.”
The Sustainable Ocean Principles were developed by the UN Global Compact Action Platform on Sustainable Ocean Business in consultation with stakeholders from the private sector, NGOs, academic institutions and UN agencies. In committing to the nine principles, companies pledge to take action to prevent pollution, manage their use of marine resources to ensure long-term sustainability, and be transparent about their ocean-related activities and impacts.
The Sustainable Ocean Principles will be highlighted at the Our Ocean Conference 2019 in Oslo as one of the commitments businesses can make. Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, Minister of Trade and Industry of Norway — the host country of the conference — said, “Bringing the private sector together as the UN Global Compact is doing, has a huge impact. When finance, classification, insurance and the operating companies together set the expectations higher, we as Governments should take that as a clear call to action.”
Initially launched during the UN General Assembly in September, the Sustainable Ocean Principles are intended to build upon and supplement the overarching Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. In January 2020, the UN Global Compact will publish a set of practical guidance documents to support companies in advancing ocean sustainability in different sectors.
Other entities that have so far signed the Sustainable Ocean Principles include ABN AMRO, CEiiA, Cermaq, Cisco Systems, CoreMarine, DNB Bank ASA, DNV GL, Dow Inc., Empower, Equinor, Gard AS, Global Sea Mineral Resources, Government Pension Fund Norway, Grieg Maturitas AS, Kongsberg Gruppen ASA, Lloyd’s Register, MAKEEN Energy, The New Zealand King Salmon, Nor-Shipping, Nordic Mining, Norwegian Guarantee Institute for Export Credits, Norwegian Shipowners Association, Ocean Bottle, Skretting, StormGeo, TATA NYK and Thorvald Klaveness. The full list is available here.
The principles provide a foundation for companies to engage in ocean sustainability in the lead-up to the UN Ocean Conference in June 2020 in Lisbon, Portugal, and beyond.
Quotes from business leaders
Geir Molvik, CEO of Cermaq, said, “Knowing that we need to increase global aquaculture production to limit temperature rise, the Sustainable Ocean Principles provide a needed reference for all ocean business as well as land-based industries to ensure a healthy ocean and responsible ocean use.”
Remi Eriksen, Group President and CEO of DNV GL, said, “The ocean represents an ocean of opportunities and we welcome the introduction of the Sustainable Ocean Principles. These principles will be an important reference point as businesses look to capitalize on ocean opportunities related to the provision of food, renewable energy and global trade, while at the same time working to mitigate the many threats to ocean health.”
Rolf Thore Roppestad, CEO of Gard, said, “We are pleased to be joining business leaders from around the world in setting clear and shared expectations through the Sustainable Ocean Principles. As a leading marine insurer, sustainable maritime development is a fundamental part of our mission and the principles assist in assessing risk in our own operations and insurance risk for our portfolio.”
Alastair Marsh, CEO of Lloyd’s Register said, “Having a common, global reference like the Sustainable Ocean Principles will provide a framework for all industries to progress in the right direction; both those with direct ocean involvement and adjacent sectors.”
Anders C. Anderson, CEO of MAKEEN Energy, said, “The health of our ocean has become an important and urgent issue, and I am proud that MAKEEN Energy is among the first companies to support and sign the Sustainable Ocean Principles. Today, we are already designing solutions that make it possible to bunker ferries with liquefied natural gas, which is much cleaner than conventional fuels. And in the future, we will continue focusing on responsible energy solutions that make a difference to people and planet.”
Simon Lowden, Chief Sustainability Officer of PepsiCo, said, “The growing threat that packaging waste poses to our communities and marine environments is one that must be taken seriously and acted upon with urgency. PepsiCo’s sustainable packaging vision is a world where plastics need never become waste, and through investment, innovation and partnership, we will continue to do our part, working aggressively on solutions toward a circular economy.”
Capt. Zareer Antia, General Manager of TATA NYK, said, “As a global shipping company we need to make sure all our stakeholders know that we are taking ocean health very seriously. We now have the Sustainable Ocean Principles as a new international standard, and this will be very useful for us to take even more positive actions.”
About the United Nations Global Compact
As a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact works with companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact guides and supports the global business community in advancing UN goals and values through responsible corporate practices. With more than 9,500 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and more than 60 Local Networks, it is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world.