Oceans provide essential natural resources, including food, medicines, biofuels, and other products. They help with the breakdown and removal of waste and pollution, and their coastal ecosystems act as buffers to reduce damage from storms. Most importantly, it’s also an excellent place for tourism and recreation.
Moreover, Healthy Oceans contribute to poverty reduction by increasing fish catches and income and improving health. They also help improve gender equality, as women do much of the work at small-scale fisheries. The marine environment or life below water is also home to a stunning variety of beautiful creatures, ranging from single-celled organisms to the giant animal ever to have lived on the Earth–the blue whale.
However, due to massive negligence and overuse of our ocean’s resources, it is on the brink of destruction, resulting in massive negative impacts on our environment and economy. It also negatively impacts the ecosystem of life below water, including the death of marine animals due to the ingestion or entanglement of plastics and other debris, the destruction of habitats such as coral reefs, and the accumulation of toxic substances in marine food chains, which can ultimately harm human health. Additionally, pollution has led to decreased water quality and oxygen levels, resulting in the death of marine organisms and biodiversity loss. Overall, ocean pollution poses a significant threat to the health and sustainability of our oceans and the ecosystems they support.
International bodies and governments worldwide are taking steps toward preserving the oceans, but due to their limited resources and reach, they won’t achieve it on their own. Therefore, today there is a need for business houses to step up, as their philanthropies can make a huge difference by providing much-needed resources and support. This philanthropy won’t just help protect the ocean but also if properly publicized, can create goodwill for the company.
Companies in all sectors, from finance to industries with a direct impact on their environment, can allocate capital in a way that is commensurate with protecting and developing healthy oceans, seas, and marine resources. Companies with sufficient influence to affect the investment decisions of others can lead by galvanizing finance to support ocean ecosystem conservation, restoration, and development efforts and build awareness among relevant stakeholders. They can identify funding gaps and focus particularly on regions that cannot finance support for ocean ecosystems and water system flows to maximize positive impact. Companies can also engage policymakers and others in multi-stakeholder initiatives to eliminate harmful financial flows, such as investment in unsustainable fisheries or subsidies. They can also invest in training around sustainable practices in fisheries and aquaculture.
Keeping in mind, Over 90% of the world’s trade is carried by sea, supporting more than USD$2.5 trillion of commercial activity every year. Therefore, there is immense scope for funding as companies benefitting from the ocean trade just by investing a small amount from their profits can change the condition of oceans for a better future. Apart from being morally uplifting, this philanthropy will also ensure sustainable business for them.
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