United Nations
Developing SDG Objectives and Metrics with and for the Ocean Business Community
by World Ocean Council (Private sector)
The World Ocean Council (WOC) is working to develop SDG objectives and metrics with and for the ocean business community, as announced at SOS 2016 and at the U.N. Ocean Conference PrepCom side event in Feb 2017.

This builds on efforts by The World Ocean Council (WOC) to advance the role of the private sector in sustainable development which have been underway for several decades, e.g. Holthus, P.F. 1999. Sustainable Development of Oceans and Coasts: The Role of the Private Sector. UN Natural Resources Forum Journal. Vol 23 (2):169-176.)

Since 2014, in the formal SDG process, the WOC has been the only ocean industry organization consistently participating in the SDG from the initial stages of the process. The WOC has been working to inform and engage the ocean business community since 2013 through our network of 34,000+ ocean industry stakeholders. In 2016, the WOC produced a report for the ocean business community that reviews and analyzes the SDGs in relation to ocean industries.

The WOC CEO has regularly spoken about the SDGs at ocean industry events around the world over the past 3 years. The WOC has regularly promoted and explained he SDGs at the WOC Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS), the only annual gathering of the global ocean business community that is dedicated to sustainable development, with the entire SOS 2016 designed around the SDGs. SOS 2017 (Halifax, 29 Nov-1 Dec) will be focused on SDG 14.

The purpose of developing SDG objectives and metrics for the ocean business community is to engage a coalition of leadership companies and industry organizations which use ocean space and resources to collaborate in identifying objectives which are meaningful, practical and ambitious (but achievable in the time frame of the SDGs), and engage the input of other ocean stakeholders in finalizing a working version of these ocean industry-driven aims for supporting the achieving the formal targets and indicators set by governments.

Implementation methods include:
• Workshops planned for the WOC Sustainable Ocean Summits in 2017 and 2018.
• Compilations of examples of ocean business community efforts that are consistent with achieving the SDGs.
• Development of draft SDG 14 objectives and metrics by early 2018.
• Review and comment of SDG 14 objectives and metrics by the ocean business community and other ocean stakeholders.
• Development of draft objectives and metrics for the other SDGs by late 2018.
• Review and comment of other objectives and metrics by the ocean business community and other ocean stakeholders.
• Finalizing of the working SDG objectives and metrics for the ocean business by the end of 2018.
• Developing methods for reporting progress against the objectives.

The annual WOC Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS) will provide the time and place for the ocean business community to report on progress in implementing the SDGs.
Progress reports
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Type of commitment
  • Plastics recovery/recycling/reuse
  • Reduce invasive aquatic species introduction
  • Management of ship-based pollution and/or port waste management
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Integrated Coastal Management
  • Marine Spatial Planning
  • Large Marine Ecosystem approach
  • Ecosystem-based Adaptation
Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels
Type of commitment
  • Coastal carbon sinks/blue carbon
  • CO2 emission reductions (energy efficiency, renewable energy, etc.)
  • Scientific research and cooperation to address ocean acidification knowledge gaps
By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics
Type of commitment
  • Compliance, monitoring and enforcement
  • Reduction and elimination fishing practices and gear that destroy/degrade marine habitat
  • Science-based fisheries management plans
  • Ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF)
  • Reduction of fisheries by-catch and product waste/losses
  • Eco-labelling, traceability, certification programmes
  • Market-based instruments (Individually Traded Quotas, Vessel Day Schemes, etc.)
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Type of commitment
  • Multiple use marine protected area
By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
Type of commitment
  • Economic benefits from sustainable fisheries
  • Economic benefits from sustainable tourism
  • Economic benefits from sustainable aquaculture/mariculture
  • Economic benefits from marine renewable energy
  • Economic benefits from marine biotechnology
  • Economic benefits from sustainable transport
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Research capacity development
  • Data access and sharing
  • Scientific cooperation
  • Transfer marine technology
  • Actions that support SIDS and LDCs
Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want
Type of commitment
  • Activities to raise awareness of the comprehensive legal and policy framework for the sustainable development of oceans and seas, in particular UNCLOS, its Implementing Agreements and other relevant ocean-related instruments and promote their effective im
December 2017
Workshop on SDG Objectives and Metrics for the Ocean Business Community
December 2018
SDG Objectives and Metrics for the Ocean Business Community
July 2018
SDG 14 Objectives and Metrics for the Ocean Business Community
In-kind contribution
WOC Secretariat staff, WOC Member company personnel, members of the WOC Network of 34,000+ ocean industry stakeholders, and participants in the WOC Sustainable Ocean Summit in 2017 and 2018 working to - identify and define SDG targets and indicators that
Basic information
Time-frame: 2016 January - 2018 December
Ocean companies and industry organizations from around the world, including those which are WOC Members or part of the global WOC Network of 34,000+ ocean industry stakeholders
Ocean Basins
  • Global
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Contact information
Paul Holthus, Founding President and CEO, paul.holthus@oceancouncil.org,
Other SDGs
United Nations