Seaweed stakeholders stepping up global collaboration to scale climate and nature solutions
The Safe Seaweed Coalition is proud to announce it has become the Global Seaweed Coalition (GSC), hosted by its founding partner United Nations Global Compact. The potential for the world to enjoy climate positive food, feed, medicines, materials, and fuels derived from seaweed is remarkable. This potential must be guided by global science-based safety and sustainability standards and regulations. The GSC will be reflective of an upscaled, responsible, and restorative seaweed sector that will play a significant role in achieving the Global Goals by contributing to food safety and security and helping respond to the climate and environmental crises.
“We cannot miss out on this chance to bring the world together on the smartest climate solution of our time. The potential of seaweed production has the rare combination of scalability of local production, nature-based climate action and supporting local communities and economies over time,” said Erik Giercksky, UN Global Compact Head of Ocean.
The Coalition’s new name reflects the global scale-up we envision. Our mission is to facilitate the emergence of an international seaweed sector, with global safety standards, grounded in science. We will continue to achieve it through the implementation of four pillars: funding, advocacy, science, and policy.
In its Foresight Review on Food Safety, Lloyd’s Register Foundation (the Foundation), co-founder and inaugural funder of the Coalition, identified the safe expansion of aquaculture and blue food industries as a means of meeting the world’s looming food safety challenges. The Foundation recognized the crucial role of seaweed. Its support of the Safe Seaweed Coalition has helped bring together industry and regulators to scale up this industry safely and effectively.
“We look forward to seeing the Global Seaweed Coalition continue the good work of the Safe Seaweed Coalition, tackling the need for a safe and sustainable food source for a growing population, as well as other major benefits, and helping to advance the Foundation’s charitable mission,” said the Foundation’s Tim Slingsby.
Initially being hosted by the French National Research Centre (CNRS) laid a solid scientific base for the Coalition’s work. Since that time, the Coalition’s membership has grown to almost 1000 members. This rapid growth has positioned us for the next stage of our journey, a deeper engagement with UN Global Compact.
Thanks to the Compact’s global reach and strong local networks, we plan to increase engagement with governments, local producers, the private sector, and other UN entities. We expect this new setup, leveraging a unique network of global stakeholders, to improve our access to various public and private fundraising opportunities and support new partnerships.
In its two years of operations, the Safe Seaweed Coalition has generated tremendous momentum for seaweed, strengthening the representation of the value chain and its main drivers while maintaining our grounding in science. Our high-level advocacy in UN summits on food systems, climate, and biodiversity has led to an unprecedented recognition of seaweed’s sustainability potential, opening doors for the sector to take its rightful place in policy conversations. The Coalition is directly backing the sector’s growth: to date, we have granted €1.2 million in seed funding to 24 projects in 26 countries and attracted a further €2 million to support this work.
We have built partnerships and created alliances to mobilize support for seaweed. Among them is our collaboration with the Aquatic Blue Food Coalition, a follow-up to the UN Food Systems Summit. Seaweed is increasingly recognized at high levels as a powerful nature-based solution, including by UN officials such as Ambassador Peter Thomson, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean.
A Leadership Committee composed of representatives of the founding organizations UN Global Compact, the Foundation, and CNRS will oversee the Coalition. The Coalition’s governance structure will also include two new bodies providing complementary guidance: a Scientific Council and a Strategic Advisory Council. The Scientific Council will be composed of independent academic researchers. “Their unique expertise in the seaweed value chain will ensure our actions and funding priorities stay grounded in the most up-to-date seaweed science,” said Coalition Scientific Director Philippe Potin, who will chair the Scientific Council while continuing in his role as Research Director at CNRS. The Strategic Advisory Council will furnish perspectives and guidance on seaweed and its role in the global economy, society, and environment. Experts drawn from fields such as economics, finance, environment, climate, and food systems will serve with representatives of seaweed stakeholder groups such as value chain organizations (including organizations representing small-scale and Indigenous actors), international organizations, academia, governments, and Coalition financiers.
The Secretariat will support the Leadership Committee and the two advisory bodies. To strengthen the Secretariat, Senior Advisor Nichola Dyer will take on an additional role leading its work, and a dedicated Science Officer will be recruited.
These changes will enable our Coalition to deliver even greater impact and better position us to achieve our mission, helping the seaweed sector scale up safely for workers, consumers and the environment. Check out our website and social media for announcements of future developments.