Action Platform for Sustainable Ocean Business

DNV GL is one of the founding members of the new UN Global Compact Action Platform for Sustainable Ocean Business that was launched in New York on World Ocean day, 8 June 2018.

Research Review 2018

The ocean is referred to as the new economic frontier; with a capacity for significant economic growth in both traditional and emerging ocean-based industries, it is vital for addressing a number of global challenges such as food security, natural resources, climate change and renewable energy. Maintaining healthy ocean environments is a fundamental precondition for business to operate in the long-term, and addressing current challenges provides a significant business opportunity. 

This ambitious Action Platform aims to mobilize the private sector to innovate, make investments and form partnerships to deliver the Global Goals through sustainable ocean action.

Lise Kingo

CEO & Executive Director

The Ocean Space program in DNV GL's Group Technology and Research is working to build knowledge and develop the foundations and prototypes enabling DNV GL to provide services towards the sustainable growth of new ocean industries. With its broad experience in ocean-related industries, DNV GL has much to offer as a contributor to the body of knowledge on the future sustainable development of ocean industries and ocean governance.

The UN Global Compact (UNGC) Action Platform for Sustainable Ocean Business will take a comprehensive view at the role of the ocean in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The aim is to explore attractive and viable solutions and best practices for sustainable use and management of the ocean. By bringing together the leading industries in shipping, aquaculture, fisheries, energy production, with key equity funds, banks and insurance companies, the Platform has a cross-industry, cross-UN and cross-SDGs approach. The Action Platform is designed to drive decision making processes and catalyze partnerships to advance shared ocean priorities across all 17 Global Goals. It will run as an UNGC-project for 3 years – leading up to the 2020 UN Ocean Conference – with a specific aim to scale-up the commitments and performance of companies on this critical agenda.

An important part of the work to date has been to identify areas and topics for further consideration or action by governments or the United Nations, with the objective to enhance further global and local ocean governance. The first deliverable of the platform is the DNV GL report on global ocean governance and regulation. The report addresses the difficult balance between the ongoing, inevitable expansion of ocean industries (shipping, offshore oil and gas, offshore renewable energy, aquaculture, fisheries, and seabed mining) and, on the other hand, the accompanying risks to the ocean environment. Among those risks, the report deals primarily with climate change, biodiversity loss, and ocean plastics.

Ocean governance as it presently exists is accomplished by an intricate, overlapping network of entities and agreements both inside and outside the UN system; the newly released report maps these regulations and systems. Implementation and enforcement of ocean regulations are, however, generally left to the national states in their capacities as coastal states, port states, flag states or signatories to existing conventions. The lack of consistent implementation and uniform enforcement of rules poses a key challenge to the effectiveness of international ocean regulations. In this space, private governance mechanisms, including standards, best practices, and certification schemes, play an important role in complementing public governance.

The next step of this project will be to explore opportunities for how ocean-based industries can best contribute towards the targets of the SDGs. By utilizing the strength of a cross-sectoral platform, the project will explore potential solutions that can be turned into commercial business cases.

Further reading