World Oceans Day: where to invest to help save our seas

Monday, the 8th June, marks World Oceans Day. Oceans are vital to us as human beings: they are responsible for most of the oxygen we breathe and for regulating climate and weather patterns.

Despite these facts, humankind has had a large negative impact. Through unsustainable fishing practices and plastic pollution, we have caused a lot of damage to our beautiful seas. The good news is, we can also have a positive impact and many brands are doing just that. We’ve rounded up some of the companies acting to save the oceans and the funds investing in those changes.

‘Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.’ — Sarah Kay, poet and founder of Project V.O.I.C.E

The ocean is our future

You don’t need to live near the shoreline to have the ocean play a major role in your everyday life. They don’t only provide most of the oxygen we breathe: oceans absorb about 30%* of carbon dioxide produced by humans too, helping to buffer the impacts of global warming. The ocean also serves as the world’s largest source of protein. And even in today’s climate of the coronavirus, the ocean has been a resource – according to UNESCO, bacteria, found in the depths of the ocean, are used to carry out rapid testing to detect the presence of COVID-19.**

So, the oceans really need protecting, and to that end, the theme of the UN World Oceans Day 2020 is ‘Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean’. And, although this year’s event will take place virtually, there’s a number of companies fighting to protect our seas every day.

Five companies investing in solutions

Activewear companies are known for using synthetic fibres and plastics in their products to help make them more durable. But there are some companies, like Adidas, a holding in Jupiter European***, which produces ocean-friendly designs in partnership with Parley for the Ocean. Adidas’ partnership line of sports apparel and shoes is made from at least 75% recovered ocean plastic. Additionally, the company aims to use 100% recycled polyester in all its products by 2024.

Read more about how the fashion industry is moving towards sustainability

Unfortunately, recycled plastic has its limitations, but a new bacterial enzyme that breaks down plastic bottles for recycling in hours has been created by scientists. The enzyme actually breaks down plastic so it can be remade into high-quality new bottles. The firm behind the breakthrough has partnered with major companies like PepsiCo and L’Oreal to accelerate development. PepsiCo, is a holding in JPM US Equity Income^, and has a long-standing history of environmental and philanthropic endeavours. L’Oréal is a holding in Threadneedle European Select***. We’ve heard of cosmetic companies shifting from plastics to glass due to consumer behaviour, but recycled plastic might be another alternative. L’Oréal was recently recognised as a leader in sustainability for actions aimed at climate change, deforestation and water security — and now plastics?

Parley for the Ocean isn’t the only organisation trying to clean up the seas. The Ocean Cleanup project is developing a passive method, which uses the natural oceanic forces to rapidly and cost-effectively clean up the plastic already in the oceans. Salesforce, a holding in AXA Framlington Global Technology fund^^, and Microsoft, a holding in Premier Diversified Growth***, are two of the group’s official partners in this effort. According to the Ocean Cleanup it will take 20 years to rid the world’s oceans of plastic – no small feat, or small investment.

*Source: UN, World Oceans Day (https://www.un.org/en/observances/oceans-day)
**Source: UNESCO, COVID-19: the ocean, an ally again the virus, 17 Apr 2020 (https://en.unesco.org/news/covid-19-ocean-ally-against-virus-0)
***Source: fund factsheet, 30 April 2020
^Source: FE Analytics, full holdings as at 30 April 2020
^^Source: fund factsheet, 31 March 2020

The views of the author and any people interviewed are their own and do not constitute financial advice. However the knowledge that professional analysts have analysed a fund or trust in depth before assigning them a rating can be a valuable additional filter for anyone looking to make their own decisions. Before you make any investment decision make sure you’re comfortable and fully understand the risks. If you invest in fund or trust make sure you know what specific risks they’re exposed to. Past performance is not a reliable guide to future returns. Remember all investments can fall in value as well as rise, so you could make a loss.