The blue economy contributes an estimated US $1.5 trillion to the global economy and is predicted to grow at double the rate of the rest of the economy by 2030. This growth is expected to create new and expanded investment opportunities in sectors such as tourism, fisheries, aquaculture, marine renewable energy, and biotechnology. Even as investors increasingly seek opportunities to align investments with sustainable development objectives, a key question remains whether investment in these sectors can occur in a manner that maximizes economic, environmental, and social benefits with limited environmental and social costs. For many sectors of the ocean economy, the answers are still unclear. Particularly in the case of emerging sectors, the timing, magnitude, spillovers, and synergies of ocean impacts are typically quite speculative and have historically relied on tenuous assumptions about how results from small pilots will scale up.
To guide more sustainable ocean development, a better understanding of the environmental, social, and economic consequences of scaling investment in different ocean-based sectors and industries in the context of a changing climate and dynamic global economy is needed. In collaboration with Conservation International, we aim to lay the foundation for a new investment framework for ocean sectors with significant potential to enhance the overall health of the ocean and the livelihoods of the people who depend on it.