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New report by Deloitte and WDC does a deep dive into the opportunities for businesses in embracing oceanic biodiversity

Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) and Deloitte have released a new report that shines a light on the risks and opportunities for four key sectors – shipping, food retail, financial services and tourism – operating in the ocean economy.

Launched on World Oceans Day (June 8th), the report highlights the key role that whales and dolphins play in oceanic ecosystems and assesses the multi-billion dollar, and wider non-financial, contributions of these ‘ocean ambassadors’ to businesses, and the environment and society.

Businesses are now navigating a landscape where there are ambitious global goals to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, and an urgent need to both understand and embrace biodiversity. With the upcoming launch of the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) in September, we are moving to a position where businesses will face increased scrutiny on their impacts on ecosystems – both on land and, crucially, in the ocean - which in spite of covering 71% of the Earth’s surface, capturing 25% of all human-generated carbon emissions and according to the UN, providing the means for up to 80% of global trade, remains the least funded of all of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The report aims to highlight this disparity by presenting a new, holistic value framework to help businesses structure their thinking about the true value of living species and uses cetaceans (whales and dolphins) to showcase the diverse ecosystem of services that nature provides. Importantly, it also highlights achievable calls-to-action that aim to develop the environmental discussion and inspire action, and a call for businesses to embrace the oceanic biodiversity expertise of others – including expert NGO partners like WDC.

Andy Tong, Economic Advisory partner at Deloitte stated:  “Human impacts on the ocean and its ecosystems, including on whales and dolphins, are not fully factored into the price we pay for goods and services. A significant proportion of what we consume as a society makes use of the ocean, directly or indirectly. The impact of this activity, which gives rise to biodiversity loss and climate change, means we are now at a point where our oceanic ecosystems are under significant threat.

“Within this changing landscape, risks and opportunities emerge for businesses and providers of financial capital – changing behaviours along with investment into marine ecosystems will be key. We can also benefit from harnessing technology to collect more and better data to better understand impact and act accordingly. Organisations can benefit financially as well as contributing to positive ecological and societal outcomes by taking proactive action now.”

WDC’s Director of Campaigns and Policy, Dr Carla Boreham added: “There is widespread recognition that business-as-usual is not sustainable if humanity is to stand a chance of tackling climate change, decarbonising our economies and reversing biodiversity loss. Sadly, marine ecosystems are deteriorating at an alarming rate, and this has huge consequences to us as individuals and our businesses. Our message is clear: we cannot beat the climate and biodiversity crises without protecting the ocean, and we cannot protect the ocean without whales and dolphins. There are huge opportunities for public and private sector organisations to collaborate and tackle the degradation of marine ecosystems. Acting now to save whales, dolphins and our ocean not only makes environmental sense, but this report also shows that it makes good business sense too.

About George Berry

George is a member of WDC's Communications team and website coordinator.