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Investing in Marine Conservation Makes Business Sense: IDB Invest Report

  • Ocean economy estimated to contribute $407 billion to Latin America and Caribbean GDP

The marine areas in Latin America and the Caribbean, some of the most important in the world, stand a better chance of survival if restoration and conservation efforts are aligned with a core business purpose, a new IDB Invest and Finance Earth report shows.

A number of business opportunities can support the transition away from detrimental practices toward new innovative approaches to funding marine conservation while achieving a financial return, according to the study “Business Trends in Marine Conservation: Unlocking a Sustainable Blue Economy in Latin America and the Caribbean”.  

“We have a great opportunity in Latin America and the Caribbean to unlock our ocean treasures to invest in marine areas that can provide resources to create sustainable business models that can have a positive impact on our coastal communities,” IDB Invest’s Director of Climate Hilen Meirovich said. “With the right infrastructure and investments in place, the size of the blue economy in the region could double by 2030.”

The blue economy, which includes activities related to oceans and water in general, provides food, jobs, and a source of income for millions of people around the world. It is estimated to contribute $3-$6 trillion to the global economy and over $407 billion to the region’s GDP.

The study provides a framework for evaluating the success of business models in marine conservation areas, considering factors such as sustainability, profitability, and social impact. This involves a pre-defined set of key performance indicators (KPIs) in line with the United Nations Sustainable Blue Finance Principles, capturing different dimensions of success.

For 18 Latin American countries, the maritime areas of their economic exclusive zone exceed 75% of the total territory and over 25% of the population of the region lives in coastal areas, with populations heavily dependent on key industries such as fisheries, aquaculture, shipping and tourism.

Through case studies on existing successful marine conservation business models, and recommendations for the private sector, the report identifies key barriers and develops recommendations for how businesses and wider stakeholders, including the public sector and nonprofits, can address them while supporting wider sustainability and economic goals.

The study was launched in Barbados during a series of events commemorating “Oceans Week”, organized by the IDB Group. Throughout the week, members of the government, academia, and other private sector organizations discussed opportunities to support a healthy marine environment, sustainable economic growth, and the next generation of high-quality jobs and livelihoods.  

About IDB Invest

IDB Invest, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, is a multilateral development bank committed to promoting the economic development of its member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean through the private sector. IDB Invest finances sustainable companies and projects to achieve financial results and maximize economic, social and environmental development in the region. With a portfolio of $16.33 billion in assets under management and 394 clients in 25 countries, IDB Invest provides innovative financial solutions and advisory services that meet the needs of its clients in a variety of industries.

About Finance Earth

A mission-driven social enterprise, working in partnership with world-leading environmental organizations to protect and restore nature utilizing market-based mechanisms and implementing bespoke financial tools. We help create projects – and the investment vehicles to fund them – that balance positive outcomes for nature, communities, and investors.