Sustainable Ocean Business Action Platform

Mobilize businesses for a productive and healthy ocean

The Sustainable Ocean Business Action Platform of the United Nations Global Compact convenes leading actors from business, academia, the UN system and Governments to determine how ocean industries can advance progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Why Sustainable Ocean Business?

The ocean has a key role to play in recovering better from the global pandemic, transitioning to a net-zero resilient economy, and delivering on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To meet these ambitious targets, we need to expand our use of the ocean to produce food, energy and transportation. Sustainable management of the ocean can also reduce environmental degradation and contribute to climate change mitigation.

Publications can be accessed on the Ocean Action webpage

Setting the baseline for responsible ocean business practices

Businesses have a shared responsibility, alongside Government and civil society, to take necessary action to secure a healthy ocean. The Sustainable Ocean Principles were developed in consultation with over 300 stakeholders to provide a framework for responsible business practices across sectors and geographies. They build upon and supplement the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. 

Companies signing on to the Sustainable Ocean Principles commit to integrating ocean sustainability into their business operations and overall strategy. To complement and operationalize the principles, sector-specific Practical Guidances have been developed. 

Driving ambition to accelerate ocean-based solutions

Ensuring a healthy ocean and scaling up ocean-based solutions also represents a significant opportunity for business and economic growth. The Sustainable Ocean Business Action Platform has identified the 5 Tipping Points for a Healthy and Productive Ocean, a set of tangible objectives for the ocean to support sustainable development. The tipping points cover five critical areas for success; sustainable seafood, decarbonizing shipping, harnessing ocean electricity, mapping the ocean, and ending waste entering the ocean. To provide a roadmap for Governments and businesses to jointly achieve these tipping points, the Action Platform developed the Ocean Stewardship 2030 roadmap. This roadmap will serve as a benchmark to track progress over the coming decade.

Catalyzing investments to fund sustainable ocean business

Finance will be a key enabler to achieve the ambitions set in the Ocean Stewardship 2030 roadmap. Innovative finance mechanisms such as blue bonds show great potential for catalyzing the necessary large-scale investments needed to advance progress towards the SDGs. With the Sustainable Ocean Principles and the 5 Tipping Points for a Healthy and Productive Ocean as a baseline, blue bonds can guide investments to accelerate sustainable, science-based ocean solutions. 

In this Decade of Action, we can and must mainstream these solutions to deliver on the SDGs.

Join the UN Global Compact Sustainable Ocean Business Action Platform to:
  • Drive ambition towards the Ocean Stewardship 2030 roadmap to secure a healthy, productive ocean and a resilient future
  • Contribute to setting a baseline for responsible business practices by endorsing the Sustainable Ocean Principles and incorporating ocean sustainability into your company’s overall strategy
  • Participate in working groups to develop sector-specific Practical Guidances for implementing the Sustainable Ocean Principles
  • Map and gather new data to drive science-based sustainable ocean business in support of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development
  • Catalyze investment in sustainable, science-based ocean solutions by promoting innovative financial mechanisms such as blue bonds

Platform Activities

The Sustainable Ocean Principles
5 Tipping Points for a Healthy and Productive Ocean

The Action Platform has, in consultation with more than 300 stakeholders worldwide, developed the Sustainable Ocean Principles to emphasize the responsibility of businesses to take necessary actions to secure a healthy and productive ocean.

The Practical Guidances were developed to complement and operationalize the Sustainable Ocean Principles for specific industry sectors. For each principle, the guidances provide a set of actions that can be implemented, exemplified by inspirational good practices. Each guidance includes an analysis of the sustainability challenges and opportunities of the sector.

Through the Global Goals, Ocean Opportunities Report, the UN Global Compact identified the 5 Tipping Points for a Healthy and Productive Ocean by 2030, which represent tangible objectives for the ocean to contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

The 5 Tipping Points are as follows:

  • Sustainable Seafood
  • Set Sail for Decarbonized Shipping
  • Harnessing Ocean Electricity
  • Mapping the Ocean
  • End Waste Entering the Ocean
Ocean Stewardship 2030
Blue Bonds

The Ocean Stewardship 2030 report provides a roadmap for how ocean-related industries and policymakers can jointly secure a healthy and productive ocean. It builds upon the 5 Tipping Points for a Healthy and Productive Ocean. For each tipping point, the ongoing governance and frameworks are outlined, recommendations are put forward, and two critical ambitions are suggested.

Every year during the UN General Assembly week, the Sustainable Ocean Business Action Platform will convene the Ocean Stewardship Annual Review to take stock of the roadmap and identify key areas of action to accelerate progress.

The frameworks developed by the Sustainable Ocean Business Action Platform, the 5 Tipping Points for a Healthy and Productive Ocean and the Sustainable Ocean Principles, can guide investments and increase sustainable, science-based ocean solutions.

The Blue Bonds initiative convenes leading actors from the financial sector, second party opinion providers, ocean industries and multilateral development banks to accelerate blue bond issuance in the financial markets and to create a broad consensus of what constitutes “blue”.

Platform Events

Blue Road Towards COP26

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), taking place later this year, will be a critical milestone towards achieving the targets set in the SDGs and the Paris Agreement. To contribute to a successful and ambitious conference and increase recognition of ocean-based solutions to climate change, the Sustainable Ocean Business Action Platform will embark on a “Blue Road Towards COP 26”. 

The Blue Road to COP26 will advance progress on the Ocean Stewardship 2030 roadmap, focusing on four critical areas of action: harnessing ocean electricity, zero-emission maritime transport, sustainable and low-carbon blue food, and nature-based solutions. As a key lever in supporting and accelerating the transition, finance will also be a component of each track. 

Building on existing initiatives and frameworks, this series of high-level events and working meetings will convene leading actors from the United Nations, Governments, businesses, NGOs, science and academia. These dialogues will drive the work towards COP26 and chart a path for collaboration and action beyond Glasgow.

Getting Involved

1. Sign the Sustainable Ocean Principles

You can sign the Sustainable Ocean Principles on our Ocean Action webpage and join us by taking action to ensure a healthy, productive ocean. 

2. Contribute to the Development of the Practical Guidances

The Practical Guidances map current regulations, business standards and best practices for a particular sector. Under the auspices of the UN Global Compact Sustainable Ocean Business Action Platform, the guidances have been developed by working groups consisting of companies working within the sector, UN specialized agencies and NGOs. The guidances are dynamic working documents. They will be reviewed on a regular basis to follow new legislation, best business practices, higher standards and market innovations. Input, feedback and comments from all stakeholders are welcome.

3. Participate in an Upcoming “Sprint”

“Sprints” convene cross-sectoral working groups consisting of Action Platform participants, UN specialized agencies, policy actors, science and academia, business actors and UN Global Compact Local networks for a series of three to four meetings. The objective of the sprints is to identify concrete short and medium-term actions to tackle a particular challenge as well as identify KPIs to track progress. The outcomes can vary from calls to action to business briefs or policy recommendations. Previous outcomes include the Call-To-Action on the Imminent Threats to the Integrity of Global Supply Chains, the Blue Resilience Brief, the Practical Guidance to Issue a Blue Bond and the Accelerating Sustainable Seafood Brief

Please email for queries related to any of the items above. 

From our Library

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    View the Full List in Who’s Involved
    Name Sector Country
    TotalEnergies Oil & Gas Producers France
    Hilton Food Group Food Producers United Kingdom
    Nuseed Nutritional Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology United States of America
    StormGeo Support Services Norway
    Norges Bank Investment Management Equity Investment Instruments Norway