SDG 14: Life Below Water
Progress on this specific Sustainable Development Goal has lagged behind other SDGs – by nature, the oceans suffer from being “out of sight, out of mind” to day-to-day business operations for the majority of companies.
In B Lab’s SDG Insight Report released earlier this month, it was alarming to see that SDG14 was one of the least prioritized SDGs (lowest behind SDG4), and as a result also one of the SDGs with the lowest performance across all regions. Progress on this specific Sustainable Development Goal has lagged behind other SDGs – by nature, the oceans suffer from being “out of sight, out of mind” to day-to-day business operations for the majority of companies.
Three core targets to achieving this goal are:
Protect and Restore Ecosystems
Reduce Marine Pollution
There are several B Corporations directly working to achieve these targets in the way they run their business. And we are also proud to have some companies within our community who exist specifically to address these goals. But regardless of what industry your business operates in, there are multiple ways you can contribute to Life Below Water, including donating a percentage of your profits to NGOs.
B Lab is proud to collaborate with 1% for the Planet, a movement initiative by Patagonia, a B Corp. 1% for the Planet represents a global network of businesses – including many B Corps around the world – individuals and nonprofit organizations tackling our planet's most pressing environmental issues, many of those which are related to our oceans.
Below are some of the companies within our collective communities that have inspired us to think about the role business can play in addressing SDG14.
Through tailored programs like coral gardening and underwater art projects, Reef Ecologic seeks to engage, inspire, and where possible, empower communities to care for reefs. Recently, this came in the development of the Museum of Underwater Art: the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.
Based in Australia, Reef Ecologic was also recognized as Best For the World 2021 in the Environment.
As one of the largest global NGOs focused exclusively on coral reefs, CORAL has used cutting-edge science and community engagement for nearly 30 years to reduce direct threats to reefs and to promote scalable and effective solutions for their protection.
Dopper is a B Corp based in the Netherlands that creates reusable water bottles in a mission to reduce single-use plastic. On World Ocean Day 2020, they launched a global movement to invite individuals and companies from all over the world to take a pledge to ban single-use plastic water bottles, drink from the tap whenever you can and bring your own reusable water.
To date, 609 organisations and 4809 individuals have joined the Dopper Wave, including De Bijenkorf.
The founders of 4ocean envisioned a business model where the materials recovered from the ocean would be used to develop new and innovative products that raise awareness about the ocean plastic crisis, fund a global ocean cleanup operation, and empower individuals around the world to end their reliance on single-use plastic.
Since 2017 17,284,035 lbs of plastic has been recovered from the oceans.
LETZ SUSHI is the first chain in Europe to be fully sustainably-certified in its purchasing of fish and shellfish. All of their seafood is either fully certified in sustainable fishing and responsible farming, through resp. MSC and ASC certification, or from gentle, Nordic coastal fishing. They have also launched a new labeling scheme – which is state-controlled – for local and gentle fishing: NaturSkånsom. Letz Sushi also has a partnership with Healthy Seas, helping recover 100 grams of ghost nets from the waters of the North Sea for every water carton, made with FSC certified cardboard, sold in their restaurants.
Sustainable fishing practices go beyond the practices used by the fishing practices and the types of fish caught, it also is about ensuring no further damage is caused to the ecosystem. Ghost Fishing UK is dedicated to removing Abandoned, Lost and Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG) or ‘Ghost Gear’. Ghost Fishing UK is a registered charity run by dedicated volunteers dedicated to raising public and government awareness of the Ghost Fishing issue and diving to document and recover lost fishing gear.
Companies of all sizes, sectors in all parts of the world can improve their impact on our oceans by adapting their business models, supply chain operations, partnerships, and more. If you’re looking to understand better how you can contribute and manage your future impact, check out the SDG Action Manager, a free tool developed by B Lab and the UN Global Compact.
This tool will help you discover how your company performs against the SDGs most relevant to your business practices, measure current performance, identify risk areas and set goals to improve your performance.
Get started today at bcorporation.net/programs-and-tools/sdg-action-manager