Reprinted with permission from Climate & Capital Media.
Ted Janulis, founder of Investable Oceans, has been obsessed with the ocean since he was a child. It’s not surprising then, especially after working in finance and capital markets over the last 30 years, that he would start an oceans-focused investment hub.
Working closely with Principals Vanessa Fajans-Turner, Brian Watson and Glenn Kim, Investable Oceans officially was launched in 2020 as a platform to help raise capital for sustainable ocean ventures. Investable Oceans hosts presentations about every two weeks for selective groups of accredited investors on new ventures they have profiled. But Janulis says the Investable Oceans site has much to offer anyone interested in the emerging blue economy.
"There’s a growing awareness and acceptance of the intertwining of oceans and climate change and that you really can’t fix one without fixing the other," Janulis said. "The level of receptivity to investing in how we address these issues sustainably is going up."
There’s a growing awareness and acceptance of the intertwining of oceans and climate change.
For investors, Investable Oceans provides information and support in navigating opportunities across all asset classes including public equities, fixed income, private equity and venture capital. Sectors include energy, fisheries, shipping, tourism — and the alarming challenge of plastic waste in our oceans. While philanthropy and research are doing much to address ocean issues, Janulis and Fajans-Turner believe bringing market capital to the issue is critical and the reason that Investable Oceans exists.
"Thanks to the great work of foundations, research projects and influencers, people now know, for instance, that every other breath we take comes from the ocean and that the world will have more plastic than fish by 2050 if we don’t change something," Janulis said. "But knowing how to invest in oceans solutions has taken a while for people to understand."
He adds that with climate change, people can see public markets around utilities, automobiles and extractive industries. With oceans, it’s trickier. "Most companies doing the best work in this area don’t have ‘oceans’ in their name. For investors, navigating this is a bit more nuanced."
The Investable Oceans website provides information about global oceans policy, impact studies, interviews with experts, the latest news and events and even profiles of ocean "art-ivists" through stories, podcasts and videos.
Currently, Investable Oceans has information on about two public investment platforms. NewDay Impact, an app-based service with an estimated $200 million in assets, allows investors to put as little as $100 into six sustainable focus areas, one being ocean health. The other is a carbon-savvy asset manager, Stance Capital, that is also available to anyone who signs up to the site.
These folks don’t issue products like that unless there is public demand. A bootstrapping is happening in the blue economy.
Janulis said that in 2020, BNP Paribas issued a Blue Economy ETF, or exchange-traded fund, in the EU and that Credit Suisse partnered with Rockefeller Capital Management to launch a $212 million ocean health impact fund for European investors.
"We are starting to see oceans investment products coming out," Janulis said. "These folks don’t issue products like that unless there is public demand. A bootstrapping is happening in the blue economy."
One challenge for many projects is the long gestation periods between developing an idea, building models, experimenting in tanks on land, scaling the project up& and navigating the many regulations involved in bringing it online. But Janulis said that support groups and the architecture needed to help facilitate, encourage and fund ocean projects are starting to happen.
"I’ve been really impressed with something called Ocean Visions, a collective of experts from Scripps, Monterey Bay, Stanford, MIT and Woods Hole working to take large-scale projects out of the lab and into the oceans," Janulis said. "The emotional connection to the oceans is what drives a lot of folks when it comes to working in or investing in the area. Sharing that, you can often leap over many steps and really focus on the kind of assets that can provide a real solution.”