Leaders of the Blue Economy

We’ve discussed the blue economy before and that it refers to all things marine, from shallow creeks to the deepest oceans. The central hallmark of the blue economy is the ability to generate marine economies all having some central nexus with the world’s water. The World Bank uses a key term in its definition, stipulating a “sustainable” use of resources.

In real terms, this includes an endlessly growing array of activities and markets: shipping, fishing, tourism, renewables, desalinations, deep sea mining, seabed resources, and biotechnology, among others. The blue economy is currently estimated at a value of 1.5 trillion USD per year, set to double to 3 trillion by 2030. Further, the total value of natural assets within the oceans is estimated to be 24 trillion.

With such potential, the question becomes which and how. Which companies are leading the way? How are they doing it? Big numbers read impressively, yet there remains the issue of sustainability. Goal 14 of the UN’s sustainable development goals stresses a clear need for conservation given growing coastal tourism and the carbon dioxide reabsorption by the ocean, but only 7.5% of our oceans are considered “marine protected areas.”

We’ll cover five companies or organizations leading the way for the blue economy, and how they’re doing it sustainably:

  • Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
  • The Ocean Cleanup
  • Trimble
  • DNV GL
  • Cargill

Marine Stewardship Council

As an international non-profit organization, MSC is critically important for rewarding sustainable fishing practices. Sustainable fishing refers to leaving enough fish in the ocean so to preserve habitats and ensure those dependent upon fishing can maintain their livelihoods.

MSC uses three techniques to succeed in their mission: certification and eco-labeling, stakeholder engagement, and continuous adaptation.

Certification and Eco-Labeling

Earning 89% of their annual income of 33 million GBP, the MSC operates a certification program that evaluates and certifies fisheries based on their adherence to sustainability standards. Fisheries that meet MSC’s criteria for sustainable and well-managed practices are awarded the MSC eco-label.

This eco-label serves as a recognizable mark for consumers, indicating that the seafood product has been sourced from a fishery that prioritizes sustainable practices, thereby encouraging responsible consumer choices.

Stakeholder Engagement

MSC engages with a wide range of stakeholders, including fisheries, seafood processors, retailers, and NGOs, to foster collaboration and commitment to sustainable practices. Those which accept MSC’s commitment to sustainability receive an edge in their respective markets and earn a badge of trust with consumers.

By working closely with industry participants, MSC aims to create a collective effort towards the sustainable management of fisheries. This collaborative approach helps build consensus and encourages a mass approach to sustainability–enough for the word ‘sustainable’ to become the standard.

Continuous Adaptation

The charity seeks a standard of consistent improvement through regular reviews, and updates its standards to reflect advancements in scientific understanding and best practices.

The organization actively seeks feedback from stakeholders and incorporates new information into its certification requirements. This adaptability ensures that MSC’s standards remain relevant and effective in promoting sustainable fishing practices in the ever-evolving context of the blue economy.

The Ocean Cleanup

Founded by young inventor Boyan Slat in 2013, The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing technologies to remove plastic waste for the world’s oceans by 2040. It focuses on creating scalable and efficient solutions to address the problem of plastic pollution, which poses a significant threat to marine ecosystems and the global blue economy.

The primary goal of The Ocean Cleanup is to deploy systems that can capture and remove plastic debris from the ocean, preventing further harm to marine life and ecosystems. The organization’s approach involves a combination of advanced technology, research, and global collaboration.

Advanced Technology and Solutions

The Ocean Cleanup focuses on the development and deployment of advanced technologies to remove plastic waste from the oceans efficiently. This includes the use of specialized systems, such as the Interceptor, which is designed to capture plastic from rivers before it reaches the ocean.

Innovative engineering solutions, such as the deployment of passive cleanup systems and floating barriers, are key components of The Ocean Cleanup’s strategy to address the challenges of plastic pollution on a large scale.

Research and Data Analysis

The organization places a strong emphasis on research to understand the sources, distribution, and impact of plastic pollution affecting the blue economy. This data-driven approach helps in identifying key areas for intervention and refining the design and deployment of cleanup systems.

By leveraging scientific research and data analysis, The Ocean Cleanup aims to make informed decisions and continuously improve its strategies for capturing and removing plastic debris from the marine environment.

Global Collaboration

The Ocean Cleanup actively collaborates with governments, businesses, research institutions, and NGOs involved with the blue economy to create a comprehensive and coordinated effort to address plastic pollution globally.

Through partnerships with various stakeholders, The Ocean Cleanup seeks to scale its impact and implement solutions in areas where plastic pollution is most severe. Collaborative initiatives contribute to a more holistic approach to tackling the challenges of plastic waste in the oceans.


With a market capitalisation currently exceeding 12 billion USD, Trimble Inc is a technology company that focuses on providing solutions for a wide range of industries, including agriculture, construction, geospatial, transportation, and marine.

In the context of the blue economy, Trimble offers technologies and solutions that contribute to efficiency, safety, and sustainability. Focusing on machinery, the company provides solutions for precision navigation, integrated marine software, and environmental monitoring.

Precision Navigation and Positioning

Trimble provides advanced navigation and positioning solutions for marine applications. This includes precise Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers and inertial navigation systems that enhance the accuracy of vessel positioning.

By employing precise navigation technologies, Trimble helps optimize maritime operations, reduce fuel consumption, and enhance safety through accurate vessel tracking and navigation in both open seas and confined waterways.

Integrated Marine Software Solutions

Trimble offers integrated software solutions designed for marine operations. These solutions can include fleet management, vessel monitoring, and analytics tools that enable shipowners and operators to make data-driven decisions.

The software solutions provided by Trimble contribute to improved operational efficiency, streamlined workflows, and better resource utilization within the maritime industry.

Environmental Monitoring and Compliance

Trimble’s technologies also support environmental monitoring and compliance in the marine sector. This includes systems for monitoring emissions, fuel consumption, and other environmental parameters.

By helping vessels adhere to environmental regulations and standards, Trimble contributes to the sustainability goals of the blue economy. This can involve the integration of sensors and monitoring devices to track and report on environmental performance.


Det Norske Veritas Germanischer Lloyd is a global quality assurance and risk management company that provides services in various industries, including maritime, oil and gas, energy, and healthcare. In the context of the blue economy and maritime industry, DNV GL plays a significant role in ensuring safety, sustainability, and efficiency.

Similar to MSC, DNV GL’s chief business is in certification and classification services for ships and offshore structures. In 2022, DNV secured approximately 23% of all ship newbuild orders as measured in gross tonnes. The company also provides digital solutions and advisory services.

Certification and Classification Services

DNV GL is known for its classification and certification services for ships and offshore structures. The company establishes and verifies compliance with industry standards and regulations, ensuring that vessels and maritime structures meet safety, environmental, and performance requirements.

Through its classification services, DNV GL helps shipowners, shipyards, and offshore operators navigate complex regulatory landscapes while adhering to best practices for safety and environmental sustainability. In this way the company has become a key pillar for the global blue economy.

Digital Solutions and Data Analytics

DNV GL offers digital solutions and data analytics tools for the maritime industry. This includes software platforms that assist in asset performance management, predictive maintenance, and risk assessment.

By leveraging data analytics, DNV GL enables ship operators to optimize vessel performance, reduce fuel consumption, and enhance overall efficiency. These digital solutions contribute to the industry’s goal of sustainability and cost-effectiveness.

Advisory Services for Sustainability

DNV GL provides advisory services to support businesses in the maritime sector with sustainability initiatives. This involves helping clients understand and navigate the evolving landscape of environmental regulations and sustainability standards.

Through sustainability consulting, DNV GL assists organizations in developing strategies to reduce their environmental impact, improve energy efficiency, and adopt cleaner technologies. This aligns with the unflinching goal of the blue economy to promote sustainable practices.


Regarded the largest American privately held company by revenue, Cargill has been a dynastic success story for over 150 years. It is involved with various sectors, including agriculture, food processing, and commodities trading.

While Cargill is not solely focused on the maritime industry, it is further involved in the seafood sector and has made efforts to promote sustainability and responsible practices within its supply chain. It touches the blue economy through sustainable seafood sourcing, supply chain transparency, and partnerships advocating for sustainability.

Sustainable Seafood Sourcing

Cargill has publicly committed to sourcing seafood sustainably and responsibly. This involves working with fisheries and aquaculture operations to ensure that the production and harvesting of seafood align with environmental and social standards.

By promoting sustainable seafood sourcing, Cargill aims to contribute to the long-term health of marine ecosystems and support the well-being of the blue economy.

Supply Chain Transparency

Cargill places emphasis on traceability and transparency within its seafood supply chain. The company employs technology and data systems to trace the journey of seafood products from source to market.

This focus on traceability helps ensure that seafood products meet sustainability standards, and it allows consumers to make informed choices about the products they purchase, reinforcing a commitment to responsible sourcing.

Partnerships for Sustainability

Cargill collaborates with various stakeholders, including NGOs, governments, and industry partners, to drive sustainability initiatives in the seafood sector. This includes participating in industry-led sustainability programs and initiatives.

Through partnerships, Cargill aims to leverage collective efforts to address challenges such as overfishing, habitat degradation, and social issues associated with seafood production. Collaborative approaches are essential in achieving meaningful impact within the broader goals of the blue economy.

You, and the Blue Economy

The blue economy is extremely interconnected. Production powerhouses like Cargill indirectly rely on non-profit organizations to guide them as to who is sustainable. This is why MSC receives the vast majority of income through certification.

Ultimately, we receive a highly effective market system promoting sustainable products that matter to consumers while more wasteful suppliers slowly leave the market. Fisheries alone contribute about 260 million jobs to the global economy, making the blue economy a key avenue for reducing carbon emission and encouraging grassroots activism.

Reducing plastic waste, even if at first the idea of one person, adds to the positive cycle. The fishing and coastal tourism industries directly benefit, while the pace of The Ocean Cleanup’s success hints at the untold momentum waiting to be utilized. What could you do for the blue economy?

Next in this series of modern economy leaders, we’ll cover the top five private companies trailblazing the way for the purple healthcare economy.

The author of this text, Jean Chalopin, is a global business leader with a background encompassing banking, biotech, and entertainment. Mr. Chalopin is Chairman of Deltec International Group,

The co-author of this text, Conor Scott, CFA, has been active in the wealth management industry since 2011. Mr. Scott is a Writer for Deltec International Group,

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this text are solely the views of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Deltec International Group, its subsidiaries, and/or its employees. This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service, or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade.