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How business can take centre STAGE for the health of our oceans

Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries


n Malta, we have a deep connection to the sparkling blue Mediterranean Sea. For centuries, the people of Malta have depended on the sea as a source of food, and a means to trade. More recently we have learned to harness the sea for diverse businesses, from fisheries to tourism. It is not just the Maltese but also those from other countries who rely on the oceans and seas. This will be true for future generations – for livelihoods, for leisure, for business. It is therefore up to us all to protect them from the threats of pollution, climate change and overexploitation. It is only by involving those who know the sea and have harnessed its powers for new enterprises that we can ensure sustainable progress. But this is not enough. We need all businesses with the will and power to change the course of our oceans’ future to get on board. This is why the European Union is hosting the fourth edition of the international Our Ocean Conference, 'An Ocean for Life,' on 5 and 6 October 2017 in Malta. Therefore the business community will be such an active partner. The event will bring together decision-makers and forward-thinking corporate leaders with one single aim: to transform the challenges presented by our oceans into opportunities by committing to sustainable cooperation, innovation and entrepreneurship. This year, the conference will encourage actions that help reduce marine litter, support sustainable fisheries, mitigate climate change, and establish Marine Protected Areas.


The event will tap into the business community's ambitious spirit of initiative to help care for our oceans. The past editions of the conference delivered over 8.2 billion euros worth of pledges globally, all taking practical steps towards ocean recovery. Now we are inviting the commercial sector to take centre stage. Simple steps like removing plastic bags from retailers can make a real difference. But now is the time for fundamental shifts. It is time for commitment towards creating circular economies and substantially reducing our impact on the marine ecosystems. Companies can choose to sponsor the creation or expansion of a marine sanctuary, or provide incentives for sustainable fisheries. They can fund the restoration of a polluted coastal area, or lead the way to reduce plastic consumption and waste in a specific industry. Our oceans represent not only environmental but also economic opportunities that are within reach for any visionary player ready to seize them. And Our Ocean 2017 is a chance for demonstrating business’ commitment to invest in a greener value chain. Companies announcing the most ambitious pledges will have the opportunity to take the stage at the conference in Malta and present their activities to a global audience. I sincerely hope that your visit to Malta has inspired or will inspire you to dream of a sustainable sea that offers beauty, sustenance and leisure for millennia to come.

Find out more at or contact us via email at #OurOcean

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