Blue Seeds – Bringing financial sustainability to marine conservation projects
Ana Ferreira (BioMarine Community Manager)
As we all know, most conservation projects lack proper implementation and financial plans to guarantee their long-term sustainability which is, in fact, the key to success. However, this paradigm is changing due to the Blue Seeds project, leaded by Vertigo Lab, a French consultancy company focused in environmental economics! We talked with Guillaume Le Port at the Blue Invest in the Mediterranean Conference, in Malta last week, and he told us all about Blue Seeds.
[LINK FOR THE VIDEO INTERVIEW BELOW!]
[CLICK HERE to access the PDF document of the interview and more]
Blue Seeds is changing the rules of conservation projects
It’s certainly not easy to connect Environment and Economics, as both are complex and heavily intertwined. Even more difficult is to design a proper financial strategy for a conservation project, and make the conservationists understand the importance of their deployment (fairly enough, they are more concerned about protecting the environment than making a business!). However, we must all agree that it is crucial to guarantee financial sustainability of such projects, otherwise, protecting the environment will be an even more difficult task! And this is exactly what the Vertigo Lab team is doing with the Blue Seeds Project, by bring to the table (or to the sea!) a team that works together with marine conservation project managers to co-develop financial strategies, promote entrepreneurship and strong connections with local stakeholders. Besides this, they design and provide proper impact measurement tools so conservation managers can keep track of their development and major achievements, both from the environmental and finance perspectives!
The Reason behind the Blue Seeds Project
After many years working closely with MPAs (Marine Protected Areas) in the Mediterranean, the Vertigo Lab team realized that there was a huge financial gap that was transversal to most conservation projects, that is preventing them from fulfilling their goals. Realizing this, and as Guillaume explained, “Vertigo Lab, around one year ago, decided to develop the Blue Seeds Project to help the marine conservation stakeholders in the Mediterranean to develop new tools to be truly financially sustainable”. They identified the challenges and figured out the solutions!
Three main actions to tackle the financial gap of marine conservation projects
Guillaume continues to explain that the Blue Seeds Project has three main axis of action: The first axis is “Working together with the marine conservation stakeholders to co-develop financial strategies. As most of them lack the business approach, we introduce them on feasible business models and strategies to finance their projects”. The second axis comprises “Real practical support in the field for the implementation of those strategies, such as developing new financing mechanisms for marine conservation activities”. Last, but not least, the third axis is related to “the connection between marine conservation stakeholders with entrepreneurs that are developing new innovative solutions that can be applied to marine conservation (e.g. tools to improve fisheries, eco-tourism or even areas surveillance) and bring them to this marine protected areas where they might have an interesting market, to benefit from a win-win situation: profits and environmental conservation”. This is how they are boosting entrepreneurship and marine conservation in the Mediterranean area!
The challenges for 2019
The first axis of development has started one year ago, and they worked together with the marine conservation stakeholders to co-develop their financial strategies, long-term vision and business models. From 2019 on “We want to start implementing those defined strategies (finance mechanisms) in the field, to test their efficacy and to prove marine conservation stakeholders that they can find alternatives to the classic type of funds they are used to”. In parallel “We want to test our own business model, to transform the BlueSeeds Project into a service”.
CLICK PLAY TO WATCH THE VIDEO OF THE INTERVIEW!
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