The world’s oceans drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. The sea regulates everything from rainwater, weather and climate to our food and the air we breathe. The first method of travel between continents, the ocean continues to be used in travel and transportation today.

We need to carefully manage this essential global resource in order to achieve a sustainable future. Despite this, there is a continuous deterioration of coastal waters due to pollution and ocean acidification, which is directly impacting marine ecosystems, biodiversity and even small-scale aquaculture operations. The fragility of the world’s oceans are strongly connected to global socio-economic issues, and can contribute to health, safety and financial risks.

Deterioration of Coastal Waters

Global trends point to continued deterioration of coastal waters due to pollution and eutrophication (excessive nutrients in water, frequently a result of run-off from land, which causes dense plant growth and the death of animal life from lack of oxygen). Of the 63 large marine ecosystems evaluated under the Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme, 16 per cent of the ecosystems are in the “high” or “highest” risk categories for coastal eutrophication. They are located mainly in Western Europe, Southern and Eastern Asia, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Ocean Acidification

Ocean acidification is closely linked to shifts in the carbonate chemistry of the waters, which can lead to a significant weakening of the shells and skeletons of many marine species (such as reef-building corals and shelled molluscs). Studies of marine acidity at open ocean and coastal sites around the world have indicated that current levels are often outside pre-industrial bounds.

Over-Fishing, Ecosystem Functioning & Biodiversity

Over-fishing reduces food production, impairs the functioning of ecosystems and reduces biodiversity. The proportion of world marine fish stocks within biologically sustainable levels has declined from 90 per cent in 1974 to 68.6 per cent in 2013. However, the trend has slowed and appears to have stabilized from 2008 to 2013. Small-scale fisheries face numerous challenges. In response, about 70 per cent of respondents to a survey representing 92 countries and the European Union have introduced or developed regulations, policies, laws, plans or strategies specifically targeting small-scale fisheries.

When effectively managed and well resourced, marine protected areas are important mechanisms for safeguarding ocean life. In 2017, protected areas cover 13.2 per cent of the marine environment under national jurisdiction (up to 200 nautical miles from shore), 0.25 per cent of the marine environment beyond national jurisdiction and 5.3 per cent of the total global ocean area.


Major Threats To Ocean Governance

What are the major threats to oceans today? Andrew Hudson, Head of Water and Ocean Governance at the UN Development Programme explains the state of life below water, and why protecting the oceans and achieving economic growth can go hand in hand.

The World's Largest Ecosystem

The ocean is home to earth’s largest ecosystems, and supports our communities, economies, environment and all life on this planet. Despite this, marine species and the world they live in are under threat from over-fishing, pollution, habitat loss and climate change. The time to act is now.

Information Technologies To Preserve Wild Spaces

Information and communication technologies accelerate progress towards each SDG. Ocean researchers aiming to protect vulnerable ecosystems harness the power of satellite imaging to give them the data they need to preserve inaccessible spaces.


In order to promote ocean sustainability and combat the further degradation of our marine spaces, the private sector needs to come up with innovative solutions that prevent and mitigate detrimental impacts to the oceans.

Businesses from every industry can help to strengthen marine biodiversity, prevent ocean acidification, and invest in environmental initiatives that mitigate marine spills and hazardous chemical discharge. Sustainable sourcing is also a key action that firms should incorporate at every level of their value chains.

GRI, UNGC Release 'Practical Guide' for Companies to Report Their Impact on the SDGs

Many companies already act and report on climate change, water management and labor conditions. This guide can help companies take stock of their current actions and discover additional priorities to contribute to achieving the SDGs (read more).

KPMG: How to Report on the SDGs & Global Goals

4 in 10 of the world’s largest companies already reference the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their corporate reporting, suggesting that business interest in the SDGs has grown quickly since their launch in September 2015 (read more).

Project Breakthrough: Growing The Businesses of Tomorrow

If we are going to achieve a sustainable future, as outlined by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the role of business will be critical. In fact, if viewed in the right way, achieving the SDGs presents huge market opportunities for businesses (read more).


1) Media Package

  1. Program Photographs & Illustrations (Max. 10 Images)
  2. Detailed Project Description (Max. 500 Words)
  3. Optional: URL/Link to Supporting Video

2) Financial & Strategic

In order to determine financial performance & potential for scalability, please answer the following questions:

  1. Please describe how the SDG business initiative is linked to your company’s core competency/competencies.
  2. Please provide an overview of the business case associated with your SDG business initiative.
  3. Please provide evidence of planned program expansion over the coming quarters and/or fiscal years.

3) Magnetism & Inspiration

How has your business initiative been a source of magnetism and inspiration? Please provide examples of your company’s  influence on each of the following:

  1. Industry Impact
  2. Corporate Culture
  3. Key Stakeholder Groups

SDG #14 - Life Below Water - The Global SDG Awards

4) SDG Impact Metrics

What progress has your organization made towards achieving SDG #14? Please select and provide (one or more) supporting metrics to help evaluate your environmental impacts (see below for a list of possible options to select from).

Please describe how has your company has:

  • Reduced land-based sources of pollution entering aquatic environments (i.e. – plastics, toxic chemicals, nutrient pollution, etc.) Please provide data outlining the types & total weights or volumes of the avoided pollution captured through your efforts.
  • Removed land-based sources of pollution directly from the aquatic environment (i.e. – plastics, toxic chemicals, nutrient pollution, etc). Please provide data outlining the types & total weights or volumes of the pollution captured through your efforts.
  • Reduced ocean acidification through R&D efforts, internal innovation processes, and/or technology transfer. Please provide data outlining the net change in ocean pH as a direct result of your efforts.
  • Other KPI (please insert and describe).


OPTIONAL: Please provide a description/overview of 3rd party assurances relating to the verification of the metrics and figures provided above.


SDG #1 - No Poverty - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #2 - Zero Hunger - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #3 - Good Health & Well-Being - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #4 - Quality Education - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #5 - Gender Equality - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #6 - Clean Water & Sanitation - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #7 - Affordable & Clean Energy - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #8 - Decent Work & Economic Growth - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #9 - Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #10 - Reduced Inequalities - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #11 - Sustainable Cities & Communities - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #12 - Responsible Consumption & Production - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #13 - Climate Action - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #14 - Life Below Water - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #15 - Life On Land - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #16 - Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #17 - Partnerships For The Goals - The Global SDG Awards