Blue Economy Leadership, Action and Energy at WOC SOS and BlueFIN in Barcelona

Business and investment leadership in ocean sustainability surged ahead with the success of World Ocean Council’s (WOC) Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS) and Global Blue Finance Summit (BlueFIN), 17-19 October. These events, followed by OCEANOVATION Meetup, have taken industry and investment engagement for the ocean to a new level and firmly established Barcelona as the global Blue Economy hub.

WOC, the Port of Barcelona and Barcelona City Council have formed a groundbreaking partnership to advance the sustainable Blue Economy from WOC’s new headquarters in Barcelona. SOS and BlueFIN 2022 marked the successful launch of this partnership.

Collectively, the events brought together 350+ attendees from more than 30 countries, including 125+ CEOs and senior executives. See senior leaders and CEOs from previous WOC summits. Participants engaged in more than 25 sessions focused on ocean business and investment, including blue/ocean CO2 removal, port adaptation, blue food, biofouling, zero-emission recreational boating, space industry and ocean sustainability, innovation pitch sessions, and more. SOS plenaries gathered the ocean business community to consider industry involvement in Ocean 30×30, floating cities, and ocean regeneration.

The Sustainable Ocean Summit — WOC’s flagship event since 2010 and the only global ocean sustainability event developed by and for the business community — kicked off with the Ocean Executive Forum, the summit’s signature CEO panel. Two days later, the Global Blue Finance Summit opened with a comprehensive BlueInvest workshop and included a session on Blue Finance for the Mediterranean. The summit closed with a packed room for the Blue Finance Executive Forum, featuring private and public finance leaders and chaired by Ted Janulis of Investible Oceans.

After 3 days of high-energy discussion at SOS and BlueFIN, attendees looked to the future of ocean sustainability at OCEANOVATION MEETUP x Barcelona, organized by WOC’s Strategic Partner Impact2Day. This interactive event focused on startup growth and support, including a pitchfest session with finalists of the Biofouling Innovation Challenge — a global competition organized by WOC in partnership with The Ocean Opportunity Lab (TOOL).

During a stage-setting welcome reception at the Barcelona International Boat Show, Emma Cobos, Director of Innovation and Business Strategy for the Port, highlighted Barcelona’s maritime roots and focus on sustainable solutions. Barcelona City Council’s Business Innovation Director Anna Majo also emphasized how the synergy of maritime industry and innovation drives Barcelona’s commitment to be a global hub for the sustainable Blue Economy.

That spirit of innovation and collaboration was on display throughout the week, as attendees seized opportunities to network, share ideas and forge partnerships.

What’s Next?

SOS and BlueFIN 2022 confirmed that the sustainable Blue Economy needs more opportunities for collaboration across industries and along value chains; more engaging of investors and policymakers with ocean industries; more access to funding for issue- and market-driven innovation and solutions; more progress on how we implement and measure sustainable development for the ocean.

All of this requires better connections between ocean industries, entrepreneurs, investors, and institutions. The World Ocean Council is mission-driven to bridge gaps in understanding, build relationships across sectors, bring finance where it can have the most impact, advocate for better policies, and foster and facilitate collaboration. WOC is undertaking this work on several fronts, including a major focus on the Mediterranean.

The shift from an ocean economy to a truly sustainable Blue Economy requires not only resources, regulation and innovation, but accelerated efforts from industry and investment leaders. This is the key value of the World Ocean Council as a platform to connect ocean business and finance for leadership, collaboration and action on Corporate Ocean Responsibility.

Fast Facts

  • 350+ attendees from 30+ countries, including 125+ CEOs and senior leaders
  • 25+ sessions featuring Blue Economy innovation: smart ports, blue carbon, regenerative economy, blue food, biofouling, funding, startups, bluetech
  • Representatives from every major ocean sector, including shipping/shipbuilding (Swire Pacific Offshore, Tian San Shipping, Daman), ports and coastal infrastructure (Ocean Infrastructures Management, Saitec Offshore Technologies, ECOncrete), seafood/aquaculture (AVRAMAR Seafood, HQ Seaweed, Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance), cruise industry (CLIA, MSC Cruises, Ponant), tourism (Iberostar Group, Sandals, Pacific Beachcomber), innovation (Katapult Ocean), renewable energy (Bluefloat Energy, Gazelle Wind Power), science and tech (Fugro, Tecnoambiente), carbon capture (Ocean Nourishment, Seafields, Vlinder, Coastal Carbon Solutions, ClimateTrade, JustCarbon), recreational boating (ZEN Yachts, World Sailing, Flux Marine)*
  • Representatives across the ocean investment and finance community, including the European Investment Bank, European Investment Fund, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Indico Capital Partners, Ocean Assets Institute, Sofinnova Partners, AiiM Partners, Sarsia, NorthStar, Mirova Natural Capital, Pegasus Capital Advisors, Investible Oceans
  • High-level participants from the Port of Barcelona, International Union for Conservation of Nature, UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, International Maritime Organization, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry, European Space Agency

*This is a partial list.