The Future is Blue: How business can give back to the ocean

  • 2 weeks ago

From recyclable plastic being burned overseas to billionaires racing to space – now, it is more important than ever to protect our beloved planet. Naturally, working in purpose-driven businesses, we all want to do our bit. But it can often leave you feeling overwhelmed and like you don’t really know where to start. But know that you’re certainly not alone. 

However, with it being the holiday season, there’s a solution that you’re probably more familiar with than you think…the Ocean. With 83% of global carbon being circulated through the Ocean, it is our largest carbon sink and one of the best natural solutions in the fight against climate breakdown. But, it’s specifically our coastal habitats that are the real seaside superheroes (notable mentions: mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrasses). Not only do these habitats protect us from storms and facilitate masses of hugely important biodiversity, but they also sequester and store carbon from the atmosphere. Take a moment to reflect on a time spent watching these coastal habitats flow and dance by the sea – could you ever have guessed their impact?

 

With 83% of global carbon being circulated through the Ocean, it is our largest carbon sink and one of the best natural solutions in the fight against climate breakdown.

 

 

Unfortunately, our precious blue carbon ecosystems are being disturbed and destroyed. And it’s actually our coastlines and coastal communities that are being disproportionately impacted by increasing carbon dioxide. We’re talking flooding, coastal erosion, saltwater intrusion, and habitat destruction. Not only this, but there’s been an estimated 25-50% cumulative loss of these ecosystems over the last century and, without real intervention or restorative measures, nearly all mangrove habitats could be lost over the next century. Not only does this mean we are losing heaps of potential carbon storage, but it also risks the release of millions of tonnes of centuries-old carbon into the atmosphere. All this may sound like a bit of a downer, but don’t be dismayed – restoring these ecosystems could reduce 1.83 billion tonnes of carbon emissions – amounting to 5% of global emissions savings. This would aid us in our fight to meet IPCC targets and see a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. 

But, there are many wonderful organisations out there that are already making a difference! Project Seagrass, for example, is a global environmental charity devoted to conserving seagrass ecosystems through its three core pillars; ‘research, community and action’. In the nine years it’s been running, Project Seagrass has worked in 14 countries, planted over one million seagrass seeds and contributed to over 70 scientific publications. Blue Ventures is another amazing organisation that is killing the game in global blue carbon conservation. Having begun their work with Madagascan coastal communities in 2003, people remain at the heart of their purpose. Blue Ventures now works in 14 countries, helping to rebuild habitats, supporting local fishing people and guiding national fisheries policy to protect these communities and their environments. Through their mission they have been able to protect 16,080 km2 of vital ocean habitats and positively impact the lives of over 677,982 people.

 

As purpose-driven businesses that already have their fingers in many eco-friendly pies, we probably don’t have the capacity to dedicate our entire lives to this urgent cause. So how can we contribute? 

 

Let’s take a look at how other brands are taking steps to protect our oceans. 

Finisterre, designers of functional and sustainable products for sea lovers, go above and beyond in promoting the message ‘protect your blue’. From posting educational blogs to supporting marine restoration projects by offering their time, expertise or financial support – their contribution to this cause cannot be overlooked. They equally offer preventative measures by being as carbon neutral as possible – their natural fabric alternative to traditional neoprene can reduce the overall carbon footprint of a wetsuit by 80%. Primordial Radio is another example of a purpose-driven business that is setting the example in its own way. Aside from providing rock and metal bangers 24/7 and creating a community based on positivity and support, they have partnered up with Project Seagrass to make a difference. Their website includes a “Primordial SeedBank-U-Lator” – a calculator that converts any specific distance of your choice into a seagrass seed donation (1 mile = one 10p seed). This offers a playful and accessible brand-focused route for audience members to contribute. It also helps put things into perspective as it serves as a reminder of how much carbon we casually create as a society.

 

 

So how can you get involved too?

  • Take time to get curious. Engage with educational content around blue carbon ecosystems such as this ‘Sublime Seagrass’ podcast episode. Knowledge is power and it is vital for real change.
  • Put your money where your mouth is and use that mouth for good. Be inspired by the businesses mentioned above and be proactive in whatever way makes sense for your brand. Whether it’s by becoming a patron, spreading awareness or a combination of the two – why not get fired up and take action?
  • Take inspiration. Our friends at Surfers Against Sewage do an incredible job of safeguarding our blue space.
  • Lastly, a personal favourite here at Enviral – go to the seaside! How can we be inspired to protect the planet if we don’t get out into nature and explore it? At Enviral we’re firm believers that getting out into nature isn’t just amazing for the soul, but it’s great at sparking inspiration. So whether it’s a stroll on the beach or a dip in the ocean, let’s get outside and get inspired. 

 

Written by
Enviral