From all continents, investment in the blue economy is emerging as a priority and a key theme among decision makers. Not only because the sake of climate depends on that of oceans. But also because a growing population depends on a healthy source of nutritious proteins. Blue foods have long been overlooked when discussing the future of food. The increasing interest paid by the financial sector to the blue economy shows that things are changing and finance can help the blue food sector prosper. The development of the aquaculture sector has been greatly supported by access to finances. The insurance sector has also played an instrumental role as fish stocks need to be insured and risks of loss or mortality in fish pens have to be properly evaluated.
Financial investment does require risk assessment, and with that come data and transparency. The contribution of blue foods to people’s nutrition around the world needs to be recognised. The same applies to blue data: they have to be singled out. This is the way to raise awareness on the sector, the opportunities it offers and the risks it needs to address to keep improving towards more responsibility.
« If we look at social welfare and slave labour as an issue highlighted by the supply chain, it’s now being actively addressed and the situation is better than it was » the Lloyds Register Foundation recognises, highlighting that « because aquaculture data is combined into the wider agribusiness sector data, it’s difficult to extrapolate and come up with definite findings ». Traceability clauses are certainly the way forward, and these are increasingly being considered within the seafood sector, under the impulse of the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (GDST) and other organisations, and implemented by certification standards such as the upcoming MarinTrust Factory Standard (under consultation until 3rd July 2023, before publication).
The Coller FAIRR Index is another testimonial to the fact that the financial world and the blue economy are aligned on the recognition that responsible ocean investment matters when it comes to meeting today and tomorrow’s challenges. The protein producer Index provides an assessment of the aquaculture sector by looking at critical environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. FAIRR’s investor reach has grown substantially since the launch of the Index in 2018. Such a progress is a fantastic opportunity for the seafood sector, and the feed sector in particular, to show what it is capable of, and to link climate investment to ocean investment in an undisputable way.