Research ArticleAPPLIED ECOLOGY

The Ocean 100: Transnational corporations in the ocean economy

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  13 Jan 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 3, eabc8041
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc8041
  • Fig. 1 Concentration in the ocean economy.

    Revenue share accounted for by the 10 largest companies in each of the eight core industries of the ocean economy. The outer band indicates the respective industry total revenue in 2018 USD. Note that the level of concentration for “marine equipment and construction” is highly conservative due to the use of the higher end of total industry revenues, which we estimated between USD 83 and 354 billion. See section S1 for details on estimates and sources.

  • Fig. 2 The Ocean 100.

    The hundred largest TNCs in the eight core industries of the ocean economy by annual revenues in 2018. Only revenues that could be explicitly linked to the ocean economy were included (see details in Materials and Methods).

  • Fig. 3 Geographic distribution of TNCs in the ocean economy.

    Revenues (2018 USD) are aggregated based on the location of the Ocean 100’s main headquarters. (A) All industries combined. (B to I) Within each industry. See table S2 and data file S1 for exact values and a list of countries.

  • Table 1 Ocean economy industries.

    The definitions are according to the OECD (2). Revenues are for 2018, with percentages representing the respective industry’s share of the total revenues in the ocean economy from these eight industries. See section S1 and table S4 for details on estimates and sources.

    IndustryDefinitionRevenues (USD billion)Notes
    Offshore oil and gasExploration and production of
    offshore oil and gas, including the
    operation and maintenance of
    equipment related to this activity
    830 (45%)This revenue figure does not include
    onshore oil and gas operation
    Marine equipment and constructionManufacturing of marine equipment
    and materials
    354 (19%)Examples include machinery, valves,
    cables, sensors, ship materials,
    aquaculture supplies, and wind
    farms
    SeafoodIndustrial capture fisheries,
    aquaculture, and fish processing
    activities
    276 (15%)Includes farm production of seafood
    and micro- and macro-algae,
    economic activity related to catch
    production, and the preparation
    and preservation of fish,
    crustaceans, and mollusks,
    production of fishmeal for human
    consumption and animal feed, as
    well as processing of seaweed.
    Does not include small-scale or
    artisanal fisheries
    Container shippingTransportation of containerized
    freight through the ocean
    156 (8%)Does not include the building and
    repair of vessels, nor oil and gas
    cargo, dry bulk cargo, or car
    carrier/RORO
    Shipbuilding and repairBuilding, repair, and maintenance of
    ships and boats
    118 (6%)
    Cruise tourismTransportation of passengers
    through the ocean for tourism and
    recreation purposes
    47 (3%)Serving as a potential measure of
    ocean-related tourism and
    recreation activities, although it
    does not include activities located
    in a place near or adjoining the
    coast, which are often aggregated
    with tourism and recreation data
    not related to the ocean
    Port activitiesCargo handling, logistics, security,
    employment, as well as
    maintenance, development, and
    construction of port infrastructure
    38 (2%)
    Offshore windProduction of electric power from
    offshore wind
    37 (2%)Encompasses companies that own
    and operate offshore wind farms.
    Offshore wind turbine suppliers
    are included in the marine
    equipment and construction
    industry
  • Table 2 Prominent green clubs with a focus on promoting sustainable ocean business.

    InitiativeDescriptionExamples of reported impacts
    Association of Responsible Krill Fishers (ARK)
    www.ark-krill.org
    Established in 2012, ARK brings together
    companies engaged in Antarctic krill fishing to
    ensure the long-term sustainability of the
    fishery and its dependent predators. ARK
    includes 1 of the Ocean 100 companies
    Establishment of three voluntary restricted zones
    and 100% compliance by fleets during the
    2019/2020 season
    www.ark-krill.org/ark-voluntary-measures
    Global Salmon Initiative (GSI)
    www.globalsalmoninitiative.org
    Established in 2013, the GSI is a leadership
    initiative situated at CEO-level that aims to
    promote sustainable salmon production while
    minimizing its carbon footprint. GSI includes 2
    of the Ocean 100 companies
    Commitment by members to 100% certification of
    farms by Aquaculture Stewardship Council.
    Growth from 0% in 2013 to 65% of production
    in 2020
    https://globalsalmoninitiative.org/en/sustainability-report/asc-certification/
    IPIECA
    www.ipieca.org
    Established in 1974, IPIECA is the only global
    association of upstream and downstream oil
    and gas industry companies, with a focus on
    improving environmental and social
    performance. IPIECA includes 24 of the Ocean
    100 companies
    Standardization of reporting among member
    companies, with 82% of members producing
    corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports and
    79% now using IPIECA reporting guidance
    http://www.ipieca.org/our-work/sustainability-reporting/member-sustainability-reports/
    Ocean Renewable Energy Action Coalition
    (OREAC) N/A
    Launched in early 2020, the OREAC has a focus on
    sustainable development of ocean-based
    renewable energy and mitigating the effects of
    climate change. OREAC includes 3 of the Ocean
    100 companies
    First report and roadmap to 2050 to be launched
    in late 2020
    https://gwec.net/oreac-1400-gw-of-offshore-wind-is-possible-by-2050-and-will-be-key-for-green-recovery/
    Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship (SeaBOS)
    www.seabos.org
    Launched in 2016, SeaBOS is a science-business
    initiative including 10 of the world’s largest
    seafood companies with commitments to
    leading a global transformation toward ocean
    stewardship. SeaBOS includes 6 of the Ocean
    100 companies
    Set of 10 public commitments, including
    time-bound goals, and establishment of six task
    forces focused on addressing harmful practices
    within the seafood industry
    https://seabos.org/science/
    Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI)
    www.ssi2040.org
    Established in 2011, the SSI is a multi-stakeholder
    initiative aimed at improving sustainability in
    the shipping industry across social,
    environmental, and economic dimensions. SSI
    includes 1 of the Ocean 100 companies
    Publication in 2011 of “Vision 2040” and associated
    roadmap to achieve a sustainable shipping
    industry, and covering energy efficiency, labor
    rights, enabling finance and policy, and other
    issues
    https://www.ssi2040.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/SSI_Vision_doc_web.pdf
    United Nations Global Compact—Action Platform
    for Sustainable Ocean Business
    www.unglobalcompact.org/take-action/ocean
    Established in 2018, this UN Global Compact
    Action Platform brings together a group of
    leading actors from business, academia, and
    governments to advance progress toward
    achieving the SDGs. The Platform includes 6 of
    the Ocean 100 companies
    Ten-year roadmap of “critical ambitions” published
    in 2020 as “Ocean Stewardship 2030” report
    https://unglobalcompact.org/library/5742
    World Ocean Council (WOC)
    www.oceancouncil.org
    Established in 2008, the WOC is a global
    cross-sectoral industry leadership alliance
    focused on achieving ocean stewardship and
    “corporate ocean responsibility.” The WOC
    includes 4 of the Ocean 100 companies
    Convening of annual “Sustainable Ocean Summit”
    and other activities including the development
    of regional ocean councils and a Young Ocean
    Professionals initiative
    https://www.oceancouncil.org/global-issues-platforms/cross-cutting-issues/

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary Materials

    The Ocean 100: Transnational corporations in the ocean economy

    J. Virdin, T. Vegh, J.-B. Jouffray, R. Blasiak, S. Mason, H. Österblom, D. Vermeer, H. Wachtmeister, N. Werner

    Download Supplement

    The PDF file includes:

    • Tables S1 to S4
    • Section S1
    • Figs. S1 to S4
    • References

    Other Supplementary Material for this manuscript includes the following:

    Files in this Data Supplement:

Stay Connected to Science Advances

Navigate This Article