Investing in the Oceans

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Investing in the Oceans


The blue economy is the 7th largest in the world, worth nearly $25tr in asset value. Despite this, it is drastically underinvested from a public and private capital point of view. Estimates suggest that $520bn is lost annually in economic activity and 26 million people are forced into poverty due to coastal natural disasters and ocean degradation.

Preserving our oceans is highlighted by the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, but it also has critical links to many other SDGs. Almost half the global population relies on seafood as their primary source of protein, which helps to address SDG 2, “zero hunger”. Around 60m people are employed in fisheries and aquaculture, the majority of whom operate in small-scale enterprises in developing countries, contributing to SDG 8, “decent work and economic growth”. Our oceans generate 50% of the Earth’s oxygen and absorb 25% of all carbon emissions, which are important for people’s health (SDG 3) and climate action (SDG 13). The health of our oceans impact everyone, but particularly those at the bottom of the economic pyramid. In this way, addressing ocean pollution and advocating for ocean conservation not only has an environmental benefit, but ultimately also a profound economic one.

Given the sheer scale of the issue at hand and the imminent threat to our oceans, we have deliberately kept our brief broad, hoping to attract entrepreneurs with a wide range of solutions that help reverse or prevent damage to our oceans. Credit Suisse is a strong believer in collaborative partnerships and is keen to support young entrepreneurs with innovative and original businesses in the field.

Credit Suisse has already helped to foster partnerships in the ocean conservation space. We hosted the first Impact Roundtable on Marine Conservation in Lisbon in May 2018, utilising our convening power to attract partners and capital. The event connected marine conservation experts and practitioners, leading investors and philanthropists across the globe to further progress in ocean conservation and help advance and create investible solutions to restore ocean health. We believe that we can harness our global network of experts to help support the winner of our Lead2030 Challenge.

Additionally, Credit Suisse has supported thought leadership in the space to raise awareness about the dawning threat to our oceans. Our “Age of Plastics” report, highlighted the damaging effects of plastics on our oceans and trends in single-use plastics. Our “Responsible Consumer” report provided an insight to the circular economy and the unintended consequences for our oceans due to irresponsible consumption and production behaviour.

Recognising the imminent need to channel capital towards ocean conservation, CS recently launched a for-return product to offer to its clients, in conjunction with the World Bank, which helps finance ocean conservation projects ranging from the creation of Marine Protected Areas to helping prevent marine waste.

Credit Suisse is proud to support the Lead 2030 Challenge for SDG 14. The Challenge aims to surface and support impactful enterprises that look to further narrow the gap in achieving SDG 14. Credit Suisse welcomes entrepreneurs with for-profit enterprises that help improve ocean health, in any form, to submit their business plan for consideration.

Our challenge invites participants from the examples below, however not restricted to, solutions that could protect and/or restore existing ocean based resources. For example:

  • Reducing marine waste (along any part of the value chain.
  • Alternatives to single use plastic packaging/materials.
  • Support sustainable aquaculture practices.
  • Preventing food waste and food loss along the food supply chain from post-harvest to the retail and consumer level.
  • Provide marine conservation benefits.

Alternatively, solutions linked to opportunities for enhanced or new economic activity derived from the ocean. For example:

  • Ocean related energy.
  • Blue carbon initiatives.
  • Minimise shipping contribution to climate change.


Challenge crtieria


Aligned: Evidently aligned with the SDG14 challenge. See ‘About'.

Youth-led: Founded by a person aged 18 – 30.

For-profit: Be a registered business operating with a for-profit model. 

Focused: Well-structured time horizon, identified key stakeholders and beneficiaries, and proposed outcomes that are reasonable and well thought out.

Proven: Solution is readily available, being piloted, implemented, or scaled

Impactful: Solutions must have a positive social impact, for example, generating educational outcomes, employment opportunities, or developing skills.

Measurable: Solution’s impact in society must be adequately measured and/or be measurable.

Financially viable: Must be able to achieve efficiency and to survive independently through the resources they generate and/or the investments and donations they attract.

Scalable: Potential to grow impact after expanding in scope or size and/or into other regions.



The winning solution will receive:

  • Sponsorship to participate in the One Young World Summit 2023
  • A US$50,000 grant from Credit Suisse
  • 12 months of mentorship from a team of Credit Suisse professionals. The mentorship team will work to accelerate your solution based on the needs of your initiative or organisation, such as:
    • Business strategy
    • Best practices for data collection
    • Monitoring and evaluation
    • Product design


  • 1 March 2023: Applications close.
  • 9 March 2023: Shortlisted candidates confirmed and invited to submit second round application.
  • 23 March 2023: Second round application deadline.
  • 13 - 24 March 2023: Candidate interviews.
  • 27 April 2023: Challenge Winner confirmed.

Sorry, this opportunity is now closed and is no longer accepting applications.