In the April 2009, the readers of Seaways were introduced to the World Ocean Council and its efforts to bring together an international ‘ocean business community’ to develop leadership and collaboration for ocean sustainability and stewardship. The private sector, as the primary ocean user, is well placed to deliver solutions in response to society’s increasing demands that marine ecosystem use is sustainable and industry impacts on the marine environment are minimized.
For shipping, marine environmental concerns increasingly dominate the agenda for many policy, practical and public reputation aspects of the industry. This makes ocean sustainability issues important to the maritime processionals that are the backbone of the global shipping industry. Shipping and other ocean industries have the most to gain by developing and delivering solutions to sustainability – and the most to lose by continuing to be perceived only as the cause of ocean problems. Business access to ocean resources, services and space is at risk from the loss of the “social license” to operate in the seas and from the ocean governance regimes and policies that are emerging from processes in which industry is not well engaged.