Global Goals - is seaweed part of the answer?
Seaweed may feel like an unexpected climate warrior in the crisis we are in. But the fact is that it has significant potential to help us build the secure, prosperous and sustainable future we dream of.
The ocean has enormous potential to achieve global goals - with more healthy food, renewable energy and green transport for a growing world population. A scaled-up, responsible and regenerative seaweed industry therefore has a key role to play in achieving the global goals.
Algae has the potential to address some of the world's toughest challenges. It can contribute to food security, climate change mitigation, poverty alleviation and support for marine ecosystems. Revolutionary, isn't it?
A globally growing and interconnected seaweed industry has unimaginable potential to combat climate change. Here you can read how seaweed can be part of it and contribute to many of the 17 global goals.
2 - No hunger.
The sea covers 71% of the Earth's surface. Despite this massive area, the sea contributes only 2% of the world's food supply. Low in fat and rich in proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins (B12, A, K) and other essential micronutrients (iron, iodine, zinc), Seaweed and other algae are therefore an untapped resource to the food system by providing nutritious food for humans, animals and as nutrients for crops on land.
3 - Good health and well-being. Seaweed research also focuses on its potential in medical fields and as a use in specific dietary supplements.
5 - Gender equality. With women making up a large part of the seaweed workforce, the development of the seaweed industry will give them independence and economic inclusion.
7- Sustainable energy for all. Seaweed may have potential if biofuels to contribute to the shift away from fossil fuels.
8- 10 Decent work and economic growth + reducing inequality. Development of the seaweed industry can be a new source of income, especially for emerging economies and vulnerable people. The new industry could help alleviate hunger and poverty, ultimately leading to more resilient coastal communities and reduced inequalities.
12 - Sustainable consumption and production. Innovation projects are exploring the potential of using toe extract as a packaging source to replace single-use plastics and replace oil-based adhesives, moving towards plastic reduction and a more environmentally friendly chemistry in consumer goods.
13- Combating climate change. Seaweed farming requires no land, while agriculture contributes to about 24% of global greenhouse gas emissions with land-use change (e.g. deforestation) being the biggest contributor. Seaweed production for food and feed could help avoid land use change. Seaweed also sequesters natural carbon and can help mitigate the effects of ocean acidification.
14 - Sea and marine resources. Seaweed also provides marine ecosystem support by contributing to increased fish habitat and marine biodiversity, as well as marine restoration. Seaweed could potentially serve as the basis for a new integrated multi-trophic aquaculture with fish and shellfish to increase production while reducing environmental impact.
15 - Ecosystems and biodiversity. Life on land. Seaweed can play an important role in the development of natural fertilisers that restore nutrients to the soil.
Given the enormous impact the seaweed industry could have on the climate, there are also challenges. Many factors can hinder seaweed as a natural climate solution. You can read more about these challenges and also much more facts about the potential of seaweed in the links below.