Tapping into the finance that’s essential to seafood’s future

Sustainable finance is the fastest growing of all financial sectors today and could provide the means for seafood and aquaculture to scale-up and be part of a “green revolution”, Dr Darian McBain, Chief Sustainability Officer for the Monetary Authority of Singapore told AquaVision 2022.

Speaking about the future of finance and how to capitalise on opportunities, McBain informed conference delegates that many people are talking about decarbonisation and moving towards net zero as the next version of the industrial revolution.

To-date, though, the majority of seafood companies are failing to be part of the movement, she said, adding that moving forward, all businesses involved in the sector need to be thinking about to change to renewable energy sources, how to remove carbon through technology or nature-based solutions, and how to do more work together.

“The scary thing is the speed of change that’s required. The IPCC Report states that emissions need to peak by 2025 and be coming down by 43% by 2030 – that’s a really steep curve.

“How are you guys going to change your businesses if you don’t have access to the funding that’s going help you change?” she asked. “You really need to be involved in getting access to this green revolution money.”

We need to work together to come up with something that’s actually going to attract investment into this industry.
Darian McBain, Chief Sustainability Officer for the Monetary Authority of Singapore

McBain said other key conversations are centring on the coming food crisis and she stressed that a green revolution is not possible if the innovations in food production are not part of the discussion.

Related to this, she highlighted that UN SDG 14: Life Below Water is the sustainable development goal that receives the least funding by some considerable margin.

“That’s a pretty sad state of affairs. But just because we’re doing ‘blue foods’ doesn’t mean we’re going to get a free pass and access to money. You still need to do a whole rainbow of other things, and you need to think about it in terms of how you manage your risks and business continuity.”

McBain therefore offered AquaVision her “call to action”, saying, “We need to work together to come up with something that’s actually going to attract investment into this industry.

“We need a system where we can create a common language between the financial sector and this sector so that the money can flow more easily.”

Insisting that a transition pathway needs to be established for the seafood sector, McBain urged engagement with the financial industry.

“We need them here at the table…we need to help them develop and understand what this industry is trying to do. We also need to innovate.

“The world needs more innovative, sustainable food, and we need to defray the worst impacts of climate change, but we need funding to accelerate that process now,” she said.

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