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A Sustainable Ocean Economy for 2050: Approximating Its Benefits and Costs

To achieve the vision of a sustainable ocean economy, it is critical to transform ocean-based sectors and ecosystems.

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The ocean faces urgent environmental challenges and taking action to protect ocean-based ecosystems and ensure the environmental sustainability of ocean-based activities will help deliver a host of benefits to society.

Building on the Special Report ‘The Ocean as a Solution to Climate Change: Five Opportunities for Action’, this new Ocean Panel–commissioned research finds that investing $1 in key ocean actions can yield at least $5 in global benefits, often more, over the next 30 years.

Specifically, investing $2 trillion to $3.7 trillion globally from 2020 to 2050 across four key areas—conserving and restoring mangrove habitats, scaling up offshore wind production, decarbonising international shipping and increasing the production of sustainably sourced ocean-based proteins—would generate $8.2 trillion to $22.8 trillion in net benefits, a rate of return on investment of 450–615 percent.

As political leaders and policymakers, the private sector, financial institutions and local communities seek to reset and rebuild—and enhance resilience—in a post-COVID world, there is an opportunity to partner on the rapid transition to a sustainable ocean economy as part of a blue recovery that reflects these investments and benefits. Now, more than ever, we need a healthy ocean to provide key ecosystem services and benefits that are crucial for a sustainable future.

The Special Report ‘A Sustainable Ocean Economy for 2050: Approximating Its Benefits and Costs’ launched on 14 July 2020 in the media and on digital and social media. The report received great coverage from outlets including  CNNCNBCFast CompanyThe GuardianGreenBizAl Jazeera and The Economist’s World Ocean Initiative.

On the WRI Big Ideas into Action podcast, ‘What is a Sustainable Ocean Economy?‘, the Ocean Panel Co-chairs at the time, Erna Solberg (Prime Minister of Norway) and Tommy Remengesau Jr. (President of Palau), as well as the authors discuss the findings of the report. The report’s lead authors also wrote a blog post for WRI Insights, ‘Four Investments to Secure Ocean Health and Wealth’, and the Ocean Panel raised awareness of the Special Report’s key messages through a Twitter thread.

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