Maritime Affairs

Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles

Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles

Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles

The global blue economy is set to grow faster than the general economy, possibly doubling in size by 2030.

However, in a business-as-usual scenario, the environmental impacts and losses in natural capital from unsustainable economic activity in the ocean risk eroding the resource base on which such growth depends. Concerted action to protect and restore ocean health is therefore needed.

The finance and investment community has a strong role to play in driving this transition, but in a complex environment which already carries significant business risk there is limited guidance available on how to act.

The Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles

That's why in 2017, a partnership between the European Commission, WWF, the Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit and the European Investment Bank (EIB) has developed a set of voluntary Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles. These principles, elaborated in consultation with private and public financial institutions, intend to:

  • promote the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular Goal 14 (Life Below Water)
  • set out ocean-specific standards while avoiding to duplicate existing frameworks for responsible investment
  • comply with IFC Performance Standards and EIB Environmental and Social Principles and Standards.

Our ambition

Our aim is to build an international coalition of financial institutions that endorse the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles on a voluntary basis and thereby demonstrate their support for healthy oceans in their investment decisions and for the development of a sustainable blue economy.

Taking action

For information on how to join the growing list of signatories and demonstrate your support for the development of a sustainable blue economy, send an email to MARE-FINANCE-PRINCIPLES@ec.europa.eu.

The principles were showcased at the World Ocean Summit in Mexico (7-9 March 2018). Read the joint press release.

How it all started

The process started in May 2017

The objective was to ensure that the Principles were geared to the needs and reflected the knowledge of as broad a range of stakeholders as possible.

At the Our Ocean conference organised by the European Union in October 2017 in Malta, an initial coalition of institutions including Althelia Ecosphere, Aviva Investors, the BPCE Group, the European Investment Bank, Seventure Partners, Willis Towers Watson and the World Bank, announced their support to develop a set of sustainability principles to guide investment and financing decisions in the blue economy.

The principles were further supported in the final report of the High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance published in January 2018, which recommended their adoption and implementation by the finance community.

More information