SUSTAINABLE OCEAN SUMMIT ADVANCES “CORPORATE OCEAN RESPONSIBILITY”
Over 150 business leaders from a range of ocean industries -- including shipping, oil and gas, fisheries, aquaculture, mining and offshore renewable energy -- participated in the World Ocean Council's inaugural Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS) this week in Belfast, Northern Ireland. With the theme of "Reducing Risk, Increasing Sustainability: Solutions through Collaboration", the SOS covered a range of ocean stewardship issues including marine spatial planning, the Arctic, biodiversity, marine debris, and sound in the marine environment, reports http://www.megafishnet.com/ with reference to World Ocean Council.
Never has it been clearer that the single most important factor determining the health of the ocean is the way business is done in the marine environment, and that industry leadership in ocean protection is critical. "Sustainable oceans are of crucial importance to the private sector and to society as a whole," said Richard Pruitt, Director of Environmental Programs, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "The issues covered at the SOS provided the foundation for global collaboration and the future work of the World Ocean Council."
This gathering of the ocean business community, held soon after World Ocean Day, June 8th, kicked off with the inaugural Round Table of Ocean Industry Association Leaders, which convened nearly 20 international marine related business groups to consider areas of common concern. The SOS also included the first international industry seminar on marine spatial planning. Participants from around the world learned about the growing efforts to address multiple uses of the ocean through this approach, and encouraged the World Ocean Council to work with ocean industries to better understand and engage in marine spatial planning.
Jim Renner, Senior Geologist, Golder Associates highlighted, "As a Founding Member of the World Ocean Council, Golder Associates was pleased to co-sponsor a conference that for the first time brought a wide variety of business interests together to consider the ocean not just as an industrial platform but as an ecosystem that we are all a part of."
In recognition of the International Year of the Seafarer, a special session of the summit highlighted the need for the ocean industries to focus greater attention on safety and environmental education for maritime professionals. Peter Hinchliffe, Marine Director for the International Chamber of Shipping, and others emphasized the respect seafarers have for the marine environment and the opportunities for harnessing this to improve ocean stewardship.
"The Sustainable Ocean Summit represents an important catalyst for industry participation in the growing global commitment to ocean sustainability," said Karen Hansen, Principal, Beveridge & Diamond P.C. "The businesses involved in the event had an unprecedented opportunity to share ideas and aspirations on business involvement in the processes and decisions on balancing society's interests and needs for use of ocean resources, globally and locally."
"The global ocean business community was energized by this first international cross-sectoral conference on shared sustainability challenges," summarized Paul Holthus, Executive Director of the World Ocean Council. "The need and opportunity for an ocean industry leadership alliance on ‘Corporate Ocean Responsibility' has become even clearer and more compelling as a result of the SOS, and several companies joined the World Ocean Council during the event."
World Ocean Council Founding Members Convene in Belfast
Founding Members of the World Ocean Council convened at the conclusion of the SOS to form a Steering Committee for the rapidly growing organization. "Given the importance of the world's oceans to the global environment and the global economy, the World Ocean Council will serve a critical function in bringing together industry leaders in ocean stewardship," said Rodger Melton, Chief Environmental Scientist for ExxonMobil. "We look forward to being a part of this collaborative alliance."
World Ocean Council membership is open to ocean industries who demonstrate a commitment to collaboration and leadership in addressing ocean sustainability challenges. The growing membership currently includes ExxonMobil, Rio Tinto, Transocean, Det Norske Veritas, Golder Associates, Torm A/S, ICS, Blank Rome, and Columbia University's Center for Energy, Marine Transportation and Public Policy and many others.
"It is the responsibility of all the users of the world's oceans to ensure that we work towards leaving our seas pristine and flourishing for the many generations yet to come", said Claus U. Jensen, Executive Vice President of the global shipowning company TORM AS. "TORM AS' decision to join and support the creation of the World Ocean Council as a Founding Member is an important step towards uniting all industry leaders." Added Pia Desiree Loft, Vice President, CSR and Communications: "The WOC is a forum where we can meet to discuss issues common to all ocean industries."