The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and Monaco Asset Management (MAM) unveiled the governance outline of the ReOcean Fund, a private equity fund dedicated to SDG 14, Life below Water.
- Monaco outlines governance plans for a 100 million private equity focused on solving marine challenges.
- Estimates from UNCTAD suggest that 3 billion people rely on the oceans for food, jobs and income, valued at $2.5 trillion or 3% of global GDP in 2030.
- Tackling climate change will require addressing ocean health, as the oceans are acidifying and losing their ability to act as a carbon sink.
The Foundation has also announced the Re.Generation initiative, with a focus on developing climate leadership. The Re.Generation programme has selected 11 young leaders under 35 to undertake an inaugural campus programme in Monaco, to build up their skills and network to facilitate and accelerate action on climate change – to increase their visibility and impact.
The ReOcean Fund
The ambition of the ReOcean Fund is to invest €100 million to catalyse the next generation of ocean innovations to support the transition towards a net-zero, regenerative and more equitable economy.
The announcement is timely given that the recent record-shattering heat recorded in many places around the world is having a significant impact on marine life. Most of the heat stored near the surface of the Earth is not in the air, but in the oceans – the waters around the UK and Ireland, for example, have been suffering from extreme heat. In fact the European Space Agency (ESA) said the heat wave was ‘extreme’ in June 2023 – with temperatures 5°C above the average.
The ESA’s Craig Donlon explained that the impact of a marine heatwave would include stress on the marine ecosystem, the impact on industries such as aquaculture and fisheries, modification of local wind patterns and potential rainfall events that may emerge later.”
This is a significant problem as life under water, in the ocean, is already facing huge pressures due to overexploitation of its resources, pollution, habitat destruction and the impact of climate change. That means failing fisheries – with over a third of the world’s fish stocks already over-fished, dead zones driven by nitrogen run-off (through over use of fertiliser), slavery in the supply chain and more.
Over 3 billion people depend on marine ecosystems to make their living. It’s estimated that the goods and services the ocean provides are worth at least $2.5 trillion per year, making it the world’s seventh-largest economy. And for an idea of how much we don’t yet know, 80% of the world’s oceans have yet to be mapped and its been estimated that scientists have only identified 230,000 of the two million living species in the ocean.
Scaling-up investment in solutions that can enable its resilience is essential. Just as with ecoystems on land, the ocean provides critical ecosystem services indispensable to life on earth while offering a regenerative solution to many of the crises we face today including food insecurity, climate change and the biodiversity crisis.
The sustainable ocean economy has been seriously under-invested in the past – but shifting economic, political and consumer dynamics are turning the tide and building the ocean as an investable asset class.
The two Monegasque entities, with complementary strong expertise in ocean conservation and finance, decided to team-up and co-manage the ReOcean Fund with the ambition to support the growth of high impact and innovative companies (from series A&B) aiming to:
- Reduce key sources of pollution in the ocean,
- Transform the way we produce blue food and travel across the ocean,
- Protect marine ecosystems and the critical services they provide,
- Inform and equip stakeholders with robust and transparent data.
Olivier Wenden, Vice-President and CEO of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation: “Philanthropies play a crucial role in bridging the existing gap between the public and private sectors. But philanthropy is not enough to address the vast, daunting and complex ocean challenges. It is also the right time to invest in the growth of these companies given the favourable evolution of regulation, the change in the consumer dynamics and the strong growth observed in certain sectors of the sustainable blue economy.”
The fund will invest in five sectors that the fund managers believe will collectively unlock the regenerative potential of the ocean: solutions to plastic pollution; healthy, regenerative and equitable blue food; green shipping and yachting; restoration and protection; and, of course, ocean data.
Building out climate leadership
At the same time, the Foundation announced the launch of its Re.Generation’s programme. This was conceived and built with the idea that by providing the right kind of support, climate leaders could be helped in three ways: by developing their leadership and communication skills; to increase their visibility internationally in order to make their voice heard; and, finally, to help bring a generation together in a community to pool their efforts and nurture new projects. To date the Foundation, funded by the Sovereign in 2006, has funded over 600 projects to address the challenges we face.
As Jill Tiefenthaler, chief executive officer, National Geographic Society said the goal of the project it to: “empower the next generation of scientists, conservationists, planetary stewards, and global citizens so they are equipped to find solutions and advocate for positive change in their communities and beyond.”
The inaugural cohort of the Re.Generation programme
Over the past 15 years, the community backed by the Foundation has grown to include a growing number of talents committed to the fight against climate change, the preservation of the ocean, with a special focus on the polar regions and living soil. The inaugural cohort of Re.Generation includes activists like ocean entrepreneur Anne-Sophie Roux, wildlife film maker Gunjan Menon, social entrepreneur and environment advocate Federico Perez, inventor and entrepreneur Jeremiah Thornonka and more.
The campus programme includes leadership courses curated with the University of Edinburgh and INSEAD, in order to develop the leadership and communication skills of selected talents. A series of masterclasses from renowned environmentalists and top senior leaders as Paul Polman (Former CEO of Unilever), Abdalah Mokssit (IPCC Secretary), Alejandro Agag (Founder of the Formula-E Championship), Tim Flannery (Paleontologist, Australian of the year 2007) will provide the big picture, alongside a meeting at the Princely Palace with HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, patron of the initiative.
After the progamme, the Foundation will open its network to these young talents in order to ensure them maximum visibility by multiplying speaking opportunities at international events, participation in media programs or interviews, dedicated articles on the Foundation’s communication channels.
This tailor-made assistance in communication and public relations is one of the major and differentiating assets of the Re.Generation initiative. The Re.Generation network will continue throughout the year in order to encourage exchanges between its members and to implement a group dynamic that could lead to new projects in favour of environmental protection.
Major partners have already joined Re.Generation, including National Geographic, a nominating partner alongside the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Sustainable Ocean Alliance, Euronatur, One Young World, Jackson Wild and TERI.
This initiative is supported by the Cuomo Foundation and the Boustany Foundation, both of which are already involved in the Foundation’s research grant programme. Fadi Boustany, Boustany Foundation said: “Developing future leaders, sensitive to the environment, is key to change; this will contribute to preserving and perpetuating our planet. I am delighted to participate in this initiative which will be certainly crucial for our future.”