Economist Events

World Ocean Summit 2017


The fourth World Ocean Summit will be held in Bali, Indonesia, on February 22nd-24th 2017 and will bring a critical eye to the vital issue of how to finance a sustainable ocean economy. Our aim is ambitious: to mobilise a new discussion on how capital and the private sector can drive scalable, sustainable investment in the ocean.

Event Type:
Feb. 22-24, 2017
Lot N5 Nusa Dua Tourism Complex
Bali , Indonesia

The transition from a conventional economy in the ocean to a “blue” or sustainable economy could be a tremendous economic and investment opportunity, if done right. The risks and challenges are considerable. A new and intensive phase of economic activity in the ocean is getting underway, but science warns that the seas are facing unprecedented pressures from humans, and that time to save them is quickly running out. So, the idea of the blue economy may be at risk before it has been properly established. For all the “blue-speak” of aligning economic activity with the ocean’s health, the gap between the two can be wide, and the prospect of a sustainable ocean economy could be receding rather than advancing.

Nonetheless, there is no shortage of forward-thinking businesses, industry groups, scientists, governments and ocean advocates putting their minds to the question of how to bring the blue economy into being. Bringing these emerging blue industries to scale is an urgent task, and requires vision, good governance, changes to regulation and behaviour, and, of course, large amounts of capital. In the public sector, the transition will involve sizeable recurring expenditures on institutional and regulatory reform, and on monitoring and enforcement capability. Private-sector investors will need to develop a greater awareness of the opportunities and risks involved in the new, blue economy.

In our fourth World Ocean Summit, we bring a critical eye to the important issue of how the blue economy is to be financed.

  • How large is the opportunity?
  • What are the risks involved?
  • What is sustainable investment in the ocean?
  • What kind of investment frameworks might be necessary?
  • What capital is available, and how can it be scaled up?

World Ocean Summit convenes more than 360 global leaders from government, industry, multilateral organisations, the scientific community and civil society for a constructive and solution-focused dialogue.

Featured topics

  • Sinking capital? An investment framework for the ocean
  • China and the ocean economy
  • Realising the ocean’s investment potential
  • The global ocean agenda— what comes next?
  • Investment principles for the ocean
  • Scaling the response to pollution and plastics
Questions we'll answer
  • How do large corporates and financial institutions evaluate the sustainability of their investments in the ocean? What mechanisms are currently available?
  • What is the scale of opportunity in the ocean economy? 
  • What will the global demand for seafood be in 20-30 years? 
  • What is the economic case for controlling and cleaning up pollution in the ocean?
  • What is the scale of opportunity in the ocean economy? Where will new investments happen?

The transition to a sustainable ocean economy will require significant amounts of capital from new and varied sources. This year’s Ocean Innovation Challenge calls on innovators to share ideas on how to bridge the gap between sustainability and economic growth in the ocean. We seek innovations in financing, whether these are financial instruments, products or mechanisms that will help channel responsible, sustainable investment into the ocean economy.

Key dates:

  • July 28th: Challenge announced at South-East Asia and Pacific Regional Fisheries Forum
  • July 28th – October 28th: Challenge open for submissions
  • October 28th: Challenge closes; The Economist Events review and coordinate submissions
  • November 4th - November 14th: Judges receive and review top 10 submissions, selecting their top 3 choices based on criteria using a rating system (ranging from 1 to 10)
  • November 15th: Judges to share their top 3 submissions with The Economist Events
  • November 18th: The Economist Events announces the finalists based on judges submissions; begin coordinating with finalists
  • Feb 22-24th: World Ocean Summit
  • Feb 23rd: Each finalist will present his/her innovation to the Summit audience. Judges will take turns asking questions of the presenter to help the audience evaluate the innovation. Audience members will cast their vote to determine the ultimate winner using The Economist Events App.


  • Entrants may be organisations or individuals
  • Innovations should be:
    • A financial instrument, product or mechanism that delivers or encourages responsible, sustainable investment into the ocean economy
    • Environmentally sustainable - are these financial tools or instruments helping to reduce or restrict environmental damage to the ocean?
    • Will this innovation appeal to the mainstream investment community?
    • Replicable – can this product be rolled out across various markets to different types of investors?
    • Risk-managed – how does it take into account investor risk-appetite?
    • Profit-oriented – what type of yields will this innovation deliver?
  • The degree to which an innovation helps finance the 'blue economy' should consider whether the innovation does any/all of the following:
    • Enhances investment into a particular area of the ocean economy
    • Clearly defines the impact or outcomes of the use of such innovations will have on the ocean and relevant industries / economies / geographical areas
  • Reduces, restricts or reverses the negative environmental impact of existing activities
  • Creates economic opportunity
  • Addresses investor risk appetite and delivers appropriate returns
  • Delivers social benefits such as poverty alleviation, capacity-building, etc.
  • Focuses on long-term impact and sustainability

Innovators are invited to submit a 2-page written proposal detailing the innovation and how it meets the above criteria to The top 3 finalists will win an expenses paid trip to the World Ocean Summit 2016 to showcase the project to global thought-leaders and practitioners focused on financing a sustainable ocean economy. A Blancpain commemorative timepiece will be awarded to the final winner selected at World Ocean Summit.

The Process:

  • The expert judging panel will review each submission and assess merits based on the outlined criteria
  • The top 3 innovations will be selected as finalists to attend the World Ocean Summit 2016
  • Each innovator can then provide a 2-page written proposal and an additional 5-page overview of their innovation as supporting documentation to These will be reviewed in advance of the Summit.
  • Each innovator will present his/her innovation to a live-judging panel and audience at the Summit, with the panel selecting the ultimate winner
  • Submission deadline: October 28th 2016
  • Announce the top three finalists: November 15th
  • Winner selected: At the World Ocean Summit, February 22-24th, Bali, Indonesia

Last year, The Economist Events was delighted to announce the winner of the first Ocean Innovation Challenge: Liquid Robotics. Liquid Robotics' energy-efficient wave glider collects real-time data that can be used to track weather, to conduct oceanographic research and to curb illegal activities in MPAs and EEZs.

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