Blue Economy Case Studies
There are a number of innovative businesses, organisations and communities from around the world that are adopting
Blue Economy approaches because of the clear business case and community benefits and are reaping the rewards.
The following case studies have been reproduced courtesy of Gunter Pauli and the ZERI Foundation.
This small island was really struggling economically due to globalisation. Tourism was a key driver but it only lasted for a short summer season. Gotland produced high quality carrots but due to the costs and waste associated with exporting to mainland buyers this was not a viable industry. However, it was decided to instead focus on value add production and to produce carrot cakes, carrot juice and to sort and export the high value carrots. This transformation created 250 new jobs.
Value from Coffee Waste!
The demand for shiitake and oyster mushrooms has sky-rocketed in the past two decades due to the nutritional benefits. Approximately 0.2% of a coffee bean is used in the production of a cup of coffee, 99.8% is waste. Coffee waste is an ideal substrate for growing this high value crop. The post-harvest mushroom substrate can be used as a high quality animal feed. This example demonstrate how BE principles can be used to create multiple income streams, opportunities and jobs from waste.
A small tropical island with a population of about 17,000 people, which has a developed tourism industry but is suffering from high levels of unemployment, chronic disease and environmental degradation. Using a Blue Economy approach a portfolio of business opportunities was identified using existing wild goats and value add production, local medicinal plants and an innovative tourism business model to regenerate the coral reef to address the key issues facing Bonaire.
Limburg Council, Holland
The region has a population of approximately 1 M. people supported by an industrial economy. In recent years the mining and car sectors have significantly reduced in scale, with a major car manufacturer providing 12 months notice to close a factory with the loss of 14,000 jobs. Limburg adopted a BE framework that identified multiple portfolios of opportunities including a district heating system powered from waste mine water and diversifying car component businesses into house construction.
Plant Milking, Flora Fluids
A machine is being developed that can extract essential oils from plants that have high value medicinal properties by 'milking' the plant using a process that mimics nature. Typically, to extract essential oils, a plant or tree is harvested after it has grown for up to 50 years. It is then chopped up into small parts and then steamed to produce 1 kg of essential oils. This new process allows the essential oils to be regularly extracted from an early stage over the life of the plant.
Las Gaviotas, Colombia
A small community of 2,000 people lived on an area of rainforest that had been cleared but was unsuitable for agriculture. As a result the local community had no access to clean water, limited employment opportunities and suffered from health issues. An innovative approach was identified to regenerate 20,000 acres of rainforest that created clean water, renewable energy, local business and employment opportunities and improved community health.
Food Security Technology
Technology has been developed by Seawater Greenhouse and implemented in South Australia by Sundrop Farms that allows a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers to grow in hostile arid regions using only seawater, sunlight and natural processes. The system does not rely upon fresh water, desalination or fossil fuel and provides food, freshwater, salt and minerals from the process.
The above case studies have been provided courtesy of Gunter Pauli.