The coastal zones of Asia, home to some of the world’s most productive natural habitats, are thriving hubs of economic activity. They contribute to over 40% of the world’s fisheries production and are important centres of tourism. Although this development brings benefits to many, increasing pressures from overfishing, unplanned development, pollution and climate change are putting the health of coastal ecosystems, and the communities that depend on them, at risk.
Intact and healthy coastal ecosystems are valuable not only because of their natural beauty, but also because they provide food and nutrition, livelihoods, protection against storm surges and other essential goods and services to people. For business, degrading ecosystems present a number of significant risks including: disruptions to operations, reduced production capacity, increased competition for resources, and increased levels of public scrutiny and government regulation. As a result, companies in key sectors such as fisheries and aquaculture, coastal tourism, shipping and coastal mining, increasingly understand that a focus on sustainability should be a core part of their business thinking, and will be critical to their long-term success.
Mangroves for the Future (MFF) is working to actively harness the resources, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector to protect coastal ecosystems. This involves activities such as:
Many businesses, large and small, are already reaping the benefits of strategic investments in coastal sustainability. In Viet Nam, MFF has worked with major seafood export companies to support shrimp farming models which maintain forest cover around shrimp ponds. These have led to reduced crop risk failure, which means seafood companies now have access to reliable supplies of shrimp that can be certified organic. MFF Thailand has worked with Marriott Hotels and Resorts in a national partnership that works to restore mangrove forests and support communities by giving preference to sustainable seafood and local products.
MFF also uses small grant mechanisms to support small community enterprises such as fish drying and seaweed cultivation. These help provide alternative livelihoods and increase the income of households whose livelihoods have been affected by degrading coastal ecosystems.
There are many ways in which MFF and private sector can work together. Currently, there is a Small Grant Facility for Private Sector Engagement and for private sector entities who want to implement small projects in MFF countries, MFF will match cash funding from the private sector up to a maximum of USD 25,000.
To find out how your company can be a part of this initiative, contact:Steen Christensen
Reaping from investing in coastal ecosystems, Jeju, Republic of South Korea © IUCN
Donald Macintosh, Senior Advisor, Mangroves for the Future Programme talks about how investing in coastal ecosystem like the mangroves is a win-win situation for everyone as it gives a massive boost to the ecology and the economy while protecting us from natural disasters like the tsunami.