Speaking at the World Ocean Summit

From Dan Pingaro, Sailors for the Sea, CEO
The Economist World Ocean Summit in Singapore was an exciting event with excellent discussions about ocean health, corporate responsibility and what this means for business and other key stakeholders. More than 300 keystone stakeholders participated in the event allowing for a rich, dynamic and interactive dialogue among the participants.
I was able to present on behalf of Sailors for the Sea, as the only representatives for the recreational boating community at the event.  During my presentation, I shared the history of Sailors for the Sea and our mission to galvanize the boating community around ocean health issues. I also shared information about two of our programs, Clean Regattas and Rainy Day Kits.
Another program of ours, that is in the works was notable to the theme of this summit. Certified Sea Friendly is a program that will focus on reducing the environmental footprint of the recreational boating industry. Sailors for the Sea will be the catalyst to connect designers, manufacturers, maintenance industries and address end of life issues for boats. Certified Sea Friendly links directly to corporate social responsibility and sustainability.
Sailors for the Sea plans to collaborate with corporations who can be responsible ocean stewards. For too long, the oceans have borne the brunt of externalized costs of doing business. Increasingly these impacts of unhealthy oceans will be felt in supply chains, facilities, and resource availability. Corporations are increasingly held to account for those externalized costs of business. Companies should be rewarded for reducing their impact on the environment and, in particular, on the ocean.
One avenue to formalize this accountability, provide incentive and begin integrating reporting is the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). SASB will develop and maintain industry-based sustainability standards to guide US corporations and their investors on material Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues that should be disclosed, at a minimum, in the Form 10-K. The creation of the first industry based sustainability standards in the US.
Companies impact the ocean. The ocean environment impacts companies.  As mentioned, SASB will require disclosure of material issues by industry, including positive and negative impacts on oceans and coastal ecosystems. This is an investor and environmental issue, because oceans and corporations affect many industries. Universal owners are invested in multiple sectors – if one industry is causing external harm, even if it does not affect the immediate balance sheet, it affects other holdings in the portfolio. So institutional investors will start to drive demand for disclosure and corporate responsibility once they understand the systemic impacts on their portfolio.

While Sailors for the Sea is focused on direct ocean conservation programming, through our Certified Sea Friendly program we will begin to engage the Maritime Industry. Positive, collaborative engagement between NGOs – whether it be Sailors for the Sea or Sustainability Accounting Standards Board – and Industry will be critical to the health of The Ocean, The Environment and The Economy.

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