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Plan for global ocean protection launched

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Global brands from the tourism, transport, cosmetics and finance sectors are joining forces on World Oceans Day to promote greater business engagement to halt the severe decline in the health of marine ecosystems, which both scientists and economists warn could have catastrophic impacts on human wellbeing.

As part of Ocean Unite’s The Ocean is Everybody’s Business initiative, leaders from corporations, as well as tech and manufacturing innovators, will discuss the compelling case for businesses to safeguard the global ocean in a meeting convened by Virgin founder and philanthropist Sir Richard Branson.

Hosted by Ocean Unite and The B Team, the World Oceans Day meeting takes place against the backdrop of the first ever high-level United Nations Ocean Conference at UN Headquarters in New York this week, with decision-makers from around the world gathering to advance efforts to implement the ocean-specific Sustainable Development Goal, SDG14.

Today’s event will feature a diverse group of innovators, from start-ups to tourism and transport chiefs turning their activities ‘blue’. The focus is on how to change business models to help tackle ocean challenges such as marine plastics pollution and carbon emissions, with climate change the single biggest factor in the alarming pace of ocean degradation.

Welcoming the spirit of the meeting, Virgin founder Richard Branson said: “I am proud that, across the globe, companies, entrepreneurs and inventors are stepping up to address the challenges facing the ocean. More organisations are realising what is good for the ocean is good for business. All business leaders have a responsibility to use the strength of their brands to do something unpredictable that will disrupt the space, engage the public, and ultimately help reverse the damage being done to our oceans."

"In launching The Ocean is Everybody's Business' Ocean Unite is inviting companies to ‘Go Blue’ and make commitments on a range of issues which threaten to undermine ocean health, resilience and the economic and social wellbeing of billions of people around the world. We need to chart a new course that is not only good for business but equally good for the ocean – how can we afford not to given what is at stake?" said Karen Sack, Managing Director, Ocean Unite.

"The health of our ocean is at a precarious tipping point, posing a risk to the well-being of humans and all life," said Keith Tuffley, The B Team's Managing Partner and CEO. "There's no business case to be made for damaging a vital earth system which we depend on to survive, and which is the foundation of so much economic activity. Companies have the resources, technologies, expertise and problem-solving orientation which can help us tip the scales toward a revitalized ocean."

Ocean Unite is urging businesses to commit to at least one or more of the following Ocean CSR activities:
• Net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
• Significantly reduce plastic waste.
• Support ocean regeneration zones.
• Only produce or use sustainable seafood.
• Reduce marine water pollution.
• Support innovation and science and share best practices.
• Become active ocean conservation advocates.