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World Ocean Council

The International Cross-Sectoral Industry Leadership Alliance for Ocean Sustainability
News Release


“Corporate Ocean Responsibility” must define business policies and practices in the marine environment. Many responsible companies are working towards this and are joining forces in the World Ocean Council.

20 May 2010 –

The single most important factor determining the health of the ocean is the way business is done in the marine environment, as the tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico so starkly demonstrates.

Whether it is the headline events, or the multitude of major trends and minor incidents – a seafood species overexploited, an invasive species introduced, chronic oil spillage in distant waters, plastic garbage tossed overboard – injuries large and small from growing commercial use of the ocean are adding up to cumulative impacts on a dynamic, inter-connected global ecosystem.

The private sector is increasingly, and often collectively, being held accountable for the results of its activities in the ocean. Companies and entire sectors need to understand the impacts associated with their ocean activities and develop, test and implement the best practices expected of responsible operators. Otherwise they risk losing the legal, political or social license to operate. Simple regulatory compliance may no longer suffice, as governments cannot monitor every action by every operator at sea.

Many good people in good companies are working to develop the policies and practices of “Corporate Ocean Responsibility”, but clearly more remains to be done. Identifying problems and developing solutions must be based on good science and credible risk assessment, and must be tackled on the scale at which the impacts are occurring.

The best efforts by a single company or an entire industry will not be enough to address major and cumulative effects in the inter-connected marine “commons”. Responsible companies have the most to benefit from collaboration with others in the ocean business community in developing solutions to shared marine environmental issues. They also have the most to lose by not doing so.

Protecting the seas to protect your business makes good business sense. Companies with a long-term view of their ocean business are looking to collaborate within and between industries on solutions to mutual marine environmental challenges. Working together in a pre-competitive context can result in synergies and economies of scale.

At the upcoming Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS), a broad range of ocean companies and associations are distinguishing themselves as part of a growing industry leadership alliance – the World Ocean Council – and joining forces to initiate the cross-sectoral efforts needed to tackle shared ocean sustainability issues.

The SOS (15-17 June, Belfast, UK) includes over 100 senior industry representatives from a range of ocean industries as panelists and speakers. The event is organized in partnership with Golder Associates and the program is available at

For more information about the summit, visit this page and you can register here.

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The World Ocean Council is the international, cross-sectoral industry alliance for private sector leadership and collaboration in ocean stewardship. Companies and associations worldwide are distinguishing themselves as sustainability leaders by joining the WOC as Founding Members in 2009/2010.
WOC Members to date include: ExxonMobil; Rio Tinto; the International Chamber of Shipping; RightShip; the North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA); Twin Dolphins; Transocean; the Ocean Education, Technology and Sciences Partnership; Golder Associates; TORM AS; Nautilus Minerals; Det Norske Veritas (DNV); Holman Fenwick Willan; Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.; Blank Rome; Center for Energy, Marine Transportation and Public Policy; Heidmar Inc.
Contact: Paul Holthus +1 (808) 277-9008

May 21, 2010 at 6:07 am