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OCEAN DISCLOSURE INITIATIVE

A project by:

One Ocean Foundation logo
Bocconi Sustainability Lab logo
McKinsey & Company logo
CSIC logo

OBJECTIVES

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This project is part of the multi-year research “Business for Ocean Sustainability” promoted by the One Ocean Foundation (OOF), in collaboration with SDA Bocconi School of Management Sustainability Lab, McKinsey & Company and CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas) and aimed at building knowledge about the relationship between the business and the ocean.

The project started in 2019 with the goal of investigating the role of companies in addressing ocean challenges, focusing on the pressures on marine ecosystems, the level of awareness within the business community and the main (technological and organizational) responses implemented.

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We think it is time to close this gap, connecting business and science, finance, civil society and governments, facilitating the dialogue on ocean sustainability between all parties.

WHAT IS THE OCEAN DISCLOSURE INITIATIVE?

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The Ocean Disclosure Initiative has the ambition to be a science-based framework and methodology aimed at supporting businesses from all industries in taking action on ocean-related issues, promoting prevention and/or mitigation responses and favoring disclosure and reporting

We are committed to develop the Ocean Disclosure Initiative addressing direct and indirect pressures by different business sectors on marine ecosystems. In order to raise awareness and promote the activation on ocean sustainability, a new initiative dedicated to standardizing a set of indicators and disclosing corporate information about ocean sustainability is needed.

WHY OCEAN DISCLOSURE INITIATIVE?

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The ocean enables many vital activities and provides fundamental natural assets and ecosystem services. However, the ocean is increasingly endangered by direct and indirect human pressures.

Preserving the ocean is paramount, as it provides fundamental resources and ecosystem services that enables many activities that are vital for human well-being

Over 3 billion people (40% of the world’s population) depend on the biodiversity and services offered by marine and coastal ecosystems. The ocean supports unique habitats and contains somewhere between 500,000 and 10 million marine species, most of which are still unknown. Services provided by the ocean include food and fresh water supply, renewable energy, benefits for health and wellbeing, cultural value, tourism, trade, and transport, making a major contribution to our economic and social development.

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Despite its relevance, in recent decades the degradation of marine and coastal ecosystems has quickly accelerated

Scientific evidence reports that the ocean has absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat in the climate system, constantly warming from 1970 onwards. Since 1993 the warming rate has more than doubled, while marine heatwaves have very likely doubled in frequency since 1982 and occur with an increased intensity. Moreover, with the absorption of higher quantities of atmospheric anthropogenic CO2, the ocean and the seas have undergone a process of increasing acidification. Based on multiple lines of evidence, ocean acidification and ocean deoxygenation will continue to increase in the 21st century, at rates dependent on future emissions. The World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2019 confirms exceptionally high ocean and land temperatures over the past years, and a record rise in sea level, with a warming trend expected to continue.

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Direct and indirect pressures from production and consumption activities have relevant consequences on the ocean

Direct pressures on marine and coastal ecosystems occur through direct interaction with environmental components: sea-floor integrity, for example, is endangered by oil and gas drilling, trawler fishing, grounding and anchoring, while contaminants in seawater and in seafood enter the marine ecosystem in the form of hydrocarbons leaks, biocides and anti-fouling, coagulants, or anti-foaming directly discharged or spilled into the sea.

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FIGURE 1

Direct and indirect pressures

Source: Authors’ elaboration

Direct and indirect pressures from production and consumption activities have relevant consequences on the ocean

The report “Business for Ocean Sustainability – A Global Perspective”, thanks to a scientific review conducted with the support of an international panel of 56 scholars and experts from multiple scientific disciplines, underlined that all industries, directly or indirectly interacting with the ocean, potentially exert a pressure on Good Environmental Status descriptors (GES), which the European Commission identified to describe “the environmental status of marine waters where these provide ecologically diverse and dynamic oceans and seas which are clean, healthy and productive” (FIGURE 2).

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FIGURE 2

Review of negative direct and indirect pressures of various sectors

Source: OOF (2020) Business for Ocean Sustainability – A Global Perspective

For any enquire on the project “Ocean Disclosure initiative” contact us: education@1ocean.org

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