January 2021
Vol 7, Issue 3

About The Cover

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ONLINE COVER Commercial use of the world's oceans is accelerating, raising concerns as international goals for ocean conservation lag behind. Since transnational corporations (TNCs) act as powerful players in the growing ocean economy and may also be more flexible than government institutions, these huge companies could provide a means to influence positive environmental change. To identify key TNCs, Virdin et al. used data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to measure the relative value of ocean-dependent industries to the entire ocean economy, as well as the revenue of individual companies. The researchers identified the top 100 companies across eight ocean industries, which together accounted for 60% of total ocean activity-based revenues in 2018. The findings suggest the outsized influence of a few major TNCs in the ocean economy poses risks to achieving sustainability goals, such as through targeted lobbying to weaken environmental standards. However, these corporations' highly concentrated economic influence may also offer opportunities for greener, more equitable global ocean use, such as through the formation of corporate coalitions that voluntarily commit to sustainability. [CREDIT: G. BRAD LEWIS/SCIENCE SOURCE]