Sustainable Blue Economy

Sustainable Blue Economy

Learn about the Sustainable Blue Economy

The ocean covers 70% of our planet, carries 90 % of globally traded goods, feeds billions, and provides jobs to hundreds of millions. The blue economy is said to be worth trillions of dollars – but what exactly is the blue economy? Where is it? Who is part of it? How does it connect with the wider economy? What part do I play in it? What does it mean to have a sustainable blue economy, and how do we achieve it? If you have ever struggled to address any of these questions, the resources on this page might be helpful for you. 

The blue economy encompasses:

  • The ocean environment and human activities at sea (the dark blue economic sphere), and
  • Land-based upstream and downstream actors and activities connected with the ocean and with maritime activities (the light blue economic sphere).
The two spheres of the blue economy are throughly embedded in the wider economy through environmental connections that carry impacts across ocean-land-atmosphere boundaries, and through economic value chains. Ocean-going activities in the dark blue sphere generate money and other benefits (e.g. energy, food, health, rest and spiritual nourishment). The ocean also generates benefits for us when we don’t go to sea: About half the oxygen in the air we breathe is produced by marine phytoplankton.

A sustainable blue economy should enhance wellbeing, create prosperity, and increase social equity, through activities that protect, regenerate and maintain the integrity of marine and coastal ecosystems. This applies at multiple scales, from local communities to national and global society. The sustainable blue economy should help meet the basic needs of every human within the limits of what the ecosystem can provide and sustain in the long term.

Read more on this storymap, and find out more in the video below.

Sustainable Blue Economy Pathways

The creation of a sustainable blue economy is a challenge that none of us have fully achieved yet, but sharing knowledge, tools and experiences is the best way for us to make progress globally, nationally, and within our own communities. Transitioning to a sustainable blue economy will require a myriad of actors undertaking different tasks and actions, from local community initiatives to global cooperation. Social and environmental priorities differ between localities and scales, so each initiative and action needs to be adjusted to its specific scale, context, and circumstances.

Different regions, countries and communities can’t each follow identical pathways. However, individual pathways and actions can be guided by the same vision of the “safe and just space for humanity”, and make use of existing frameworks, approaches and methods whenever appropriate. The resources on this page might help you make progress in your own role along your own pathway. The video clips and publication below illustrate how different individual transition pathways can look in practice, and might serve as inspiration.

Read the report Identifying Pathways for progress

Watch how people’s pathways have made a positive impact on their local surroundings:

People who can help to sail the Sustainable Blue Economy Journey:

Here you will find our ever expanding database of trainers who have Sustainable Blue Economy in their blood: They live it, sleep it, and will die for it…

Sarah Mahadeo

Alexander Mitrofanenko

Susanne Altvater

Louise Lieberknecht

Katrin Münch

Erick Ross Salazar

Resources to embark the Sustainable Blue Economy Journey:

Capacity Building Resources:

Are you embarking on your own pathway towards building a sustainable blue economy? If so, our capacity building resources might help you. Our sustainable blue economy training workshops are designed to help you identify and put into practice your own actions and pathways for progress. We don’t have a ready-made set of perfect, one-size-fits-all answers, nor can we provide an easy step-by-step instruction book for how to build a sustainable blue economy, but our highly interactive workshops will provide you with an opportunity to explore concepts, frameworks, tools and guidance that can support you on your journey of finding the right answers and solutions for your own context.


Follow the links above to our trainer hub, where you can contact us if you are interested in a training workshop. You can also access and use our capacity building resources yourself if you wish. This video provides an overview. All the training resources are linked to at the very bottom of this page.

Visual communication Resources:


We have created videos about the Sustainable Blue Economy and the Circular Blue Economy. The graphics used in the videos are free to use and share, and can be found here.


Resource Type
Reference guide for the Sustainable Blue Economy training.
Trainer Manual for the Sustainable Blue Economy training.
The Leaflet of the Blue Capacity Hub explains what this initiative is about, what are the courses on offer and why choosing them. (Screen Reader Compatible / Sliced version)
The Leaflet of the Blue Capacity Hub explains what this initiative is about, what are the courses on offer and why choosing them. (Low Resolution / Web version)
The Leaflet of the Blue Capacity Hub explains what this initiative is about, what are the courses on offer and why choosing them. (High Resolution / Print version)
Online whiteboard for the SBE training course, designed to familiarize participants with Miro.
Online whiteboard for the SBE training course, allowing participants to work collaboratively in a remote setting.
This video gives a quick overview of the materials provided for the Sustainable Blue Economy course.