DWS, one of the largest asset managers in Europe, announced today the launch of DWS Concept ESG Blue Economy, a new equity fund focused on ocean protection, investing primarily in shares of companies related to coastal and marine ecosystems.

According to the World Bank, the Blue Economy is defined as the “sustainable use of ocean resources for improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health.” Blue economy-related activities encompass a wide variety of area, including renewable energy, fisheries, maritime transport, tourism, and waste management.

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The new fund will target companies that contribute to ocean health and focus on sustainable consumption, reducing carbon emissions and preventing water pollution, as well as ocean-dependent sectors such as shipping and ports, energy and resources, coastal tourism and aquaculture. Among the focus areas of the new fund will be companies that help to curb ocean acidification, reduce marine pollution and those that deal with the sustainable use of marine resources, ecosystems as well as sustainable fisheries.

The blue economy fund will be managed by Paul Buchwitz, Senior Portfolio Manager at DWS. Buchwitz said:

“We invest in companies that offer solutions that can help the Blue Economy become more sustainable. However, the focus is also on companies that use the ocean as a resource and have already started to transform their business models or demonstrate their willingness to act more sustainably in the future. In addition, we enter into intensive dialogue with selected companies that have a clear negative impact on the ocean and have not yet embarked on the right path.”

DWS has partnered with independent conservation organization WWF, relying on the organization’s expertise in marine protection. The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), together with the WWF, has defined criteria for five ocean-related sectors, which the DWS Concept ESG Blue Economy has integrated into the investment process.

Parisa Shahyari, an economist at WWF, said:

“By redirecting capital flows into sustainable business models, the financial industry has tremendous leverage which can be used to protect the planet. By applying the marine conservation criteria to companies, we can work with DWS to push the transition of marine-related industries. The fact that DWS, as an investor, can use its voting rights or draw attention to the urgency of transitioning from unsustainable business models in discussions with decision-makers is particularly relevant.”