An Ocean of Possibilities
Luc Olivier, Fund Manager of Echiquier Climate & Biodiversity Impact Europe, La Financière de l’Echiquier
If the oceans were a country, they would be the seventh largest global economy, according to the OECD. The blue economy represents annual goods and services production valued at $2.5 trillion and oceanic assets estimated at $24 trillion. But, most importantly, the oceans give us the air we breathe. Thanks to marine microalgae, the oceans are the source of 50% of the oxygen produced every day, while plankton absorb 25% of the CO2 emitted by humans.
The rich resources in our oceans, which feed us and produce some of the medications we use, are suffering from all sides. Protecting marine biodiversity is an urgent, essential and huge challenge. However, concrete measures exist to combat the ravages of overfishing, plastic pollution and the scourge of invasive aquatic species.
Stepping Up Ocean Pollution Removal
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank and the French, German, Italian and Spanish development banks have joined forces to reduce plastic pollution in the oceans and speed up waste treatment. Collectively, they have made a commitment to provide €4 billion in financing to the Clean Oceans Initiative by 2025. Protecting marine biodiversity is a huge challenge, but many companies are already proposing innovative, concrete solutions to help the cause. For example, century-old Swedish company ALFA LAVAL is proposing unique technological solutions to treat ballast water, which is what large ships use to balance their weight and ensure that they remain stable when at sea. When ballast waters are discharged, they can release invasive species, which are responsible for declining marine biodiversity. This is an environmental threat and a global challenge: nearly 10 billion tonnes of ballast water are transported globally every year, and 7,000 aquatic species are moved with it every hour. VOW, the Norwegian leader in on-board water and waste treatment solutions, is also a key player in this area as ocean traffic continues to increase. The challenge is even greater if we consider that 8 million tonnes of plastic are floating in the ocean, and that a plastic bag takes 20 years to break down, while a plastic cup takes 50… Space can play a small role as well! SPIRE, a global provider of space services, announced in early May that it had signed a contract with Gale Force, a meteorological surveillance company for the maritime sector, to provide optimised route recommendations for its clients, helping them to reduce their emissions and fuel costs.
A partner of the French National Museum of Natural History, La Financière de l’Echiquier is supporting an ambitious research project on marine biomimetics, launched in May 2022 and conducted by the BOREA laboratory in Brittany. The researchers want to model artificial reefs to find the optimal environment for diverse flora and fauna growth. We believe that supporting these innovative strategies is crucial, but so is helping these sectors in their transition toward better protecting marine biodiversity.
CORBION, the Dutch leader in the production of ingredients and preservatives, is helping to eliminate overfishing by developing AlgaPrime DHA, an algae-based oil that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, for the aquaculture sector. This oil is a substitute for fish oil and helps protect marine biodiversity thanks to its lower carbon footprint than other traditional sources. It is produced using renewable energy and fair-trade materials. Another company, DSM, developed a similar vegetable oil called Veramaris in 2018. This is an important step in reducing the agri-food sector’s environmental footprint.
Although only 3% – or $3.2 billion – of impact investing assets under management are directed towards biodiversity, the IPCC estimates that between $150 and $440 billion will be required annually to meet the Convention on Biological Diversity’s targets. Further progress is needed, and we must continue to raise awareness in order to direct capital to businesses that are having a genuine positive impact on protecting biodiversity, and marine biodiversity in particular. We are still learning about biodiversity and the oceans have many more secrets to reveal.
This information and marketing content are in no way to be construed as investment advice, an investment proposal or any encouragement to invest on the financial markets. The information is derived from the best sources in our possession.
The Fund is mostly invested in equities and is primarily exposed to the risk of capital loss, equity risk, small and mid-cap investment risk and currency risk. The decision to invest in the promoted fund should not be based exclusively on its non-financial approach and should take all of the fund’s other features, as described in its prospectus, into account. Investors should note that their investment in the fund does not generate a direct impact on the environment or the company, but that the fund seeks to select and invest in companies that meet the specific criteria set out in the management strategy. For more information on its features, risks and fees, please read the regulatory documents available on our website, www.lfde.com.
Investors should note that the management company may decide to terminate the promotional agreements for its mutual funds in accordance with Article 93 bis of Directive 2009/65/EC and Article 32 bis of Directive 2011/61/EU.
 BCG study in collaboration with the WWF – Living Blue Planet Report, WWF 2015
 Tara Ocean Foundation
 The stocks referred to are given by way of example. Neither their presence in the fund portfolio nor their performance are guaranteed.
 International Maritime Organization, 2019
 Tara Ocean Foundation
 GIIN, 2018
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