New Coalition to Accelerate Growth in European Seaweed Industry

algaeurope.org   Women of Algae
seaweed industry

Europe remains the top importer of seaweed products worldwide in terms of value.

The Seaweed for Europe Coalition recently launched with 30 members, spanning 10+ European countries, across the seaweed value chain. The Coalition intends to advance the development of a sustainable ocean economy and drive post-COVID-19 green recovery. To this end, it has set its focus on defining and implementing a clear agenda for the scaling of an innovative, resilient, and fair seaweed industry.

The global seaweed market currently is on an upward trajectory, projected to grow at 12% a year towards 2024, according to Allied Market Research. Asia is the focal point of the industry, while Europe remains the top importer of seaweed products worldwide in terms of value ($613M in 2016 as published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations).

At the same time, Europe is home to a burgeoning community of innovators, offering a range of novel business models and solutions, including highly automated farming technologies, selective breeding approaches or alternative types of feedstock which reduce methane emissions from ruminants.

“There is a real buzz in the industry right now. Innovative players are eager to catalyze growth, but in a sustainable manner: climate friendly, fairer and more collaborative, resilient to future shocks,” said Adrien Vincent, Program Director, Seaweed for Europe. “In order to unlock this potential, we must create greater awareness of the ‘hidden champion,’ especially among high-level policy and business decision-makers, to ensure better regulation and mobilize investments into the industry. This is where the work of the Coalition will play a central role.”

The potential offered by seaweed is also closely integrated with the objectives of the European Green Deal, as the Commission looks to develop clean-tech and low-carbon industries, support regenerative agricultural models and create new opportunities for employment as part of its long-term post-COVID-19 recovery strategy. “Seaweed addresses some of the core challenges we currently face, offering promising solutions which can support green recovery,” said former EU-Commissioner and risk capital company SYSTEMIQ partner Janez Potočnik.

So, What’s Next?

In a next step, the Coalition will work towards quantifying the underlying business case for the industry by:

  • Defining the potential for market growth
  • Identifying intervention points along the value chain, and
  • Determining corresponding investment needs.

These findings will then be translated into an on-the-ground action program driven by Coalition members. “As the Coalition steps up its pace, we call on all interested stakeholders to work together in creating an integrated and forward-thinking industry,” said Vidar Helgesen, Co-Chair of the Coalition. “This is an opportunity to get it right from the start by determining the most sustainable path for an industry as it grows. Let’s learn from successes as well as mistakes made in other industries and accelerate seaweed to fulfill its potential.”

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