Foundation Projects
10% for the Ocean

The 10% for the Ocean is a pledge taken by individuals, families and companies that is designed to address a global and systemic problem; that only 1% of all charitable funding goes to supporting ocean related causes today.  Our aim with this project is to create a scale funding network for ocean related causes – to shift the needle by increasing the oceans share of funding from 1% to 10% by the end of the UN Ocean decade in 2030. 

Our largest living structure, supporting 94% of the planet’s species, producing 80% of the oxygen we breath and covering 70% of the Earth’s surface, the Oceans are the heart of our planet, lying at the core of earths stability. Yet they have received less than 1% of all philanthropic funding since 2009 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14 (life below water) remains the least funded of all.  Governments and leaders around the world do not see the oceans as a critical priority, yet without healthy oceans life on earth ceases to exist.

Background

Created by the Arksen Foundation, the 10% for the Ocean Pledge came to life because of the failure of existing funding systems to support healthy oceans. It came to life following a series of conversations with leading scientists and philanthropists about how they could act collectively to move the needle for ocean conservation funding and to set a new standard for targeted generosity.

The 10% for the Ocean Pledge is a simple concept: an open invitation to individuals, families and organisations globally, to publicly dedicate 10% of their charitable giving to ocean philanthropy.  

The Pledge is inspired by a profound love of the ocean and by the recognition that less than 20% of the oceans 140,000,000 square miles have been mapped and only 8% of its species discovered. The world’s oceans regulate our climate, feed a third of humanity, carry most of our trade and have the potential to meet most of our future energy needs.  However, the entire marine ecosystem is now under threat and we find ourselves on the cusp of profound change without a clear understanding of the potential impacts, largely because of a lack of research and funding.

Envisioned as a multi-generational effort, the 10% for the Ocean Pledge aims over time to help shift the norms of ocean related philanthropy toward giving more, giving sooner, and giving smarter.

Operated by the Arksen Foundation, UK registered charity No 1186488, the 10% for the Ocean Pledge also provides a forum for some of the world’s most engaged ocean philanthropists to discuss challenges, successes and failures, and how to be smarter about protecting our primary ecosystem.  People who have joined the pledge are united by a shared commitment to learning and giving, and they have the opportunity to gather annually to learn from experts about how best to leverage their voice and capital to address one of the world’s biggest challenges.

We encourage those who join the 10% for the Ocean Pledge to write a letter explaining their decision to engage in ocean philanthropy; be that for a love of the ocean or support for a specific ocean related cause.   

The 10% for the Ocean Pledge

The 10% for the Ocean pledge is both a statement of intent and a firm commitment to support ocean related philanthropy, such that we can collectively ensure that ocean related causes receive a minimum of 10% of charitable funding over the next decade.

By signing this pledge: 

I understand that all of humanity is dependent upon a thriving ocean, and that as our primary ecosystem; the heart of earths ecological well-being, urgent efforts must be made now to increase the amount of capital allocated to ocean conservation.  

I agree to:

  • Work to reduce environmental marine damage and suffering in the oceans by donating 10% of my annual charitable giving, my assets and or my time to ocean related philanthropic causes. 
  • Share my passion, experience and expertise to help ensure that the ocean projects that we collectively decide to support are successful.
  • Play an active role in the 10% for the Ocean network, bringing to the community relevant causes that I am passionate about and which I believe can have a profound impact on the marine world.
  • To promote our collective work and to encourage others to join us.

Our collective aim is to know, 10 years from now, that we used our best endeavours, all of our creativity, our ingenuity and wit to ensure that the world oceans thrive.

How we work

10% for the Ocean is a grant making service applying investment grade venture philanthropy to ocean related science, conservation and environmental projects developed via a network of partners and in-house capability.

The capital raised by the Pledgeis allocated to specific projects rather than invested directly into ocean related charities themselves.  In some cases, money may be offered to charities to help then fund the research and development required to identify a project such that it can be presented for further funding.  This approach enables the maximum impact per unit of capital deployed, as it by passes the often expensive and complex structures charities put in place to support fundraising, marketing and administration.

Prior to investing pledged capital extensive due diligence is done on each project, to vet the objectives of the campaign and the predicted outcomes.  This process is based on a venture capital approach and is designed to ensure that the aims and expected outcomes are understood and documented up front.

In general terms the projects supported by 10% for the Ocean are aimed at supporting the primary objectives of goal 14 of the United Nations, Sustainable Development Goals; Life below water:

  • Stop pollution
  • Manage and restore ecosystems
  • Minimize acidification
  • Stop illegal fishing
  • Conserve 10% of ocean areas
  • Stop fishing subsidies
  • Help small island states through sustainable management
  • Increase scientific knowledge

Specifically, our funding support can further be categorised as supporting initiatives in 4 principal areas:

  • Infrastructure
  • Programs
  • Legal and Advocacy
  • Education
Infrastructure

It is simple truth that one of the primary reasons that the ocean remains the least understood of all ecosystems on earth is because of a lack of infrastructure to support non-commercial scientific research. Whilst globally we have significant assets deployed in the exploitation of minerals, oil and gas by comparison we have a miniscule ocean research fleet dedicated to marine science.  One of the greatest challenges facing marine scientists willing to undertake this vital work is a simple one; access to the ocean in suitable vessels and tools to undertake their work.

Through in-house programs and partnerships our aim is to develop the worlds largest private fleet of research capable vessels and support vehicles.

Goals

To increase the availability of infrastructure for marine research as follows:

Developing World’s Largest Private Research Fleet

This project aims to solve the most significant issue prohibiting ocean science today; the availability of sea time on vessels that are suitable and allocated to research.

As of 2019 and despite centuries of venturing to sea, the human race has only discovered an estimated 8% of the species living within the ocean and mapped less than 20% of the ocean floor.  The fundamental reason behind this is a lack of accessible infrastructure for marine scientists and conservation experts.  The few available research ships are generally owned and operated by major institutions and governments and these are extremely difficult to access, with projects often pushed back many years.  We aim to assist the ocean research community by developing the world’s largest private fleet of research capable vessels and infrastructure at scale and to provide this to the science and conservation community so as to accelerate our understanding of the deep ocean.  

The Arksen Foundation is working towards creating the world’s largest private marine research fleet to support an intensive 15-year science programme.  This project includes partnering with marine institutions around the world and the funding of charter time or ownership of vessels for scientific research.

Why?

Extinctions from habitat loss and climate change are progressing at alarming rates. Around 20% of marine species are at risk of extinction and we urgently need to document what is happening in order to better understand why and how to prevent it.  Biodiversity also underpins many features of the environment that humans depend on and each new species discovered could provide opportunities for advances in medicine, environmental science, social adhesion and agriculture.  242,500 marine species have been described and every year, almost 2,000 marine species new to science are added to the WoRMS register. Most undiscovered creatures likely remain in the least explored habitats such as the deep oceans, the most diverse environments such as tropical seas, and in the most diverse groups including molluscs and crustaceans.  

Yachts for Science

One of the greatest challenges for marine scientists is gaining access to the sea. The deep ocean (below 200 metres) is our largest and most vital ecosystem and yet we don’t fully understand how it functions or how healthy it is. Which is why the Arksen Foundation have partnered with BOAT International and the Ocean Family Foundation, in association with Nekton, have taken on the task of helping scientists find out.

If you own a yacht, work on a yacht or know decision-makers who can help get scientists on board on a yacht, then please contact us by emailing olly@arksenfoundation.org 

The Yachts for Science matchmaking process: 

1. Submitted scientific projects are reviewed at specific times throughout the year and if suitable are short-listed.

2. The projects are then either matched with available yachts or held on record and matched with vessels if/when they become available.

3. Nekton connects the lead scientist with the yacht team directly to implement the project. Once a favourable match is made, both parties (representative for the boat and lead scientist) must sign a disclaimer before taking the mission further (Disclaimer details attached in the download forms above).

4. Project is undertaken under specific project guidelines – including sharing content and imagery for promotion during and after the project by Nekton, Boat International and Arksen Foundation. 

Research Programs

Around the world there are a wide range of ocean related causes spanning scientific, conservation and education programs. Working with many of these leading organisations we offer funding support for a portfolio of critical causes and, where relevant contribute towards the R&D costs required to develop new projects. 

Because the ocean as a whole receives such a small share of charitable funding many of these organisations are underfunded and struggling to get a share of voice. The Pledge aims to become an important source of funding for them. At the same time, Arksen Foundation develops and operates its own programs, often in partnership with other charitable organisations.

Coral Reef Alliance

Partner: 

The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) is on a mission to save the world’s coral reefs. Working collaboratively with communities to reduce direct threats to reefs in ways that provide lasting benefits to people and wildlife. In parallel, CORAL is actively expanding the scientific understanding of how corals adapt to climate change and applying this information to give reefs the best chance to thrive for generations to come. This combined expertise uniquely positions us to achieve our mission by rallying the conservation community around scalable and effective solutions for coral reefs.

Goal

Imagine the world without corals. Sand and rubble would replace the vibrant architects of the reef, like staghorn and table corals. The underwater homes of brightly colored parrotfish, butterflyfish and angelfish would be lost among overgrown seaweed. Livelihoods would diminish as coasts erode, fisheries fail and tourism declines. The goal of this project is to create a management framework that avoids this catastrophe:

  • Establish 45 Adaptive Reefscapes around the world by the year 2045. This is estimated to be sufficient for corals to continue to build reefs and provide benefits to people and wildlife throughout nearly all the world’s oceans.
  • Development of a mathematical modelling tools to identify the attributes of reef networks that will maximize the adaptation potential of corals.

Project: Coral Conservation in Times of Change

Coral reefs are one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet and support the livelihoods of over 500 million people. Around the world they are at significant risk due to local-level threats like overfishing, water pollution and habitat destruction. Now, thanks to rising ocean temperatures, they also have to contend with global-level threats such as coral bleaching. Today, a startling 75 percent of our coral reefs are threatened, and 27 percent have already been lost. One-third of reef-building corals are considered at risk of extinction. Without decisive action, coral reefs and the communities that rely on them could be irreversibly affected.

A recent study by our partner, Coral Reef Alliance shows that managing reefs to facilitate evolution today and, in the future, can enhance their prospects for long-term survival. This means creating managed area networks that contain a diversity of coral types and habitats and that effectively reduce local stressors. “This study shows that we know enough of the science to act, and with the effects of climate change only increasing, we have little time to waste,” says Dr. Colton. Program Director, Coral Reef Alliance.

Why

There is hope. Scientific research shows that corals can adapt to changing conditions. A new era of reef conservation is now possible that facilitates coral adaptation to a changing climate. An innovative conservation blueprint promotes coral adaptation within DIVERSE, CONNECTED and LARGE networks of healthy reefs called Adaptive Reefscapes. The science tells us that when we conserve a diverse portfolio of coral reefs with differing species, variable environmental conditions and significant connectivity, we enable the necessary conditions for nature’s survivors to reveal themselves.

There is much more variation in coral response to climate change than one might think: some corals die during a bleaching event; some corals bleach and later recover; and some corals show signs of resistance to bleaching altogether. Sometimes corals surprise us by doing well in unexpected places like murky waters or warm-water lagoons. We can help these special corals survive, grow and spread their special genes to future generations by reducing local-level threats like overfishing and water pollution.

Seabed 2030

Arksen Foundation has supported the Nippon Foundation GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project. 

Seabed 2030 is a collaborative project between the Nippon Foundation of Japan and the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO). It aims to bring together all available bathymetric data to produce the definitive map of the world ocean floor by 2030 and make it available to all.

The project was launched at the United Nations (UN) Ocean Conference in June 2017 and is aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal #14 to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.

Why? 

Knowing the depth and shape of the seafloor (bathymetry) is fundamental for understanding ocean circulation, tides, tsunami forecasting, fishing resources, sediment transport, environmental change, underwater geo-hazards, cable and pipeline routing, mineral extraction, oil and gas exploration and development, infrastructure construction and maintenance and much more.

Despite many years of effort, less than 20 per cent of the world ocean’s seafloor has been mapped. A co-ordinated international effort is needed to bring together all existing data sets and to identify areas for future surveys – to help us ‘map the gaps’.

Adventure Scientists

An early beneficiary of the Arksen Foundation was the US based Adventure Scientists®  a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Bozeman, MT that equips partners with data collected from the outdoors that are crucial to addressing environmental and human health challenges. By leveraging the skills of the outdoor adventure community we are able to gather difficult-to-obtain data at any scale, in any environment.

More information: Special Ops for Conservation

Since our founding in 2011, Adventure Scientists has sent thousands of volunteers on missions to collect data from remote, difficult-to-access locations for our conservation partners. As a result, fungus from Everest has helped double crop yields in India, scat samples are aiding the battle against antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” illegal loggers are easier to catch, and more conservation decisions are guided by the data they require.

Our work has been featured in hundreds of media outlets, and our volunteer adventurers are making a difference around the world. ​​

Not Your Typical Citizen Science

By recruiting, training and managing individuals with strong outdoor skills — such as mountaineering, diving or whitewater kayaking — Adventure Scientists unlocks access to high-quality data from any environment, on any scale. We rely on the outdoor adventure community because they are comfortable in the outdoors and therefore can focus on following protocols. These are individuals who (1) pay close attention to detail, (2) are creative problem solvers, and (3) are able to share their experiences via the rich tradition of storytelling that is at the heart of the outdoor community. Through their participation in our projects, Adventure Scientists volunteers become informed ambassadors for the species, places and issues with which they work. 

We view each project as an investment, and we vet each project for three key factors. One, that there is a conservation issue in which a lack of access to data has previously limited the ability to unlock solutions. Two, that there is a direct and tangible pathway from data collection to conservation outcomes. Three, that there is a clear need for the outdoor adventurer skillset.

​We recruit, train and manage skilled volunteers, saving our partners time, money and effort.  

Legal & Advocacy

Enforcing Marine Protected areas

Well-managed Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a key tool for protecting and rehabilitating the marine environment. The impact of MPAs goes beyond the designated area and plays a part in protecting wider ocean biodiversity. Unfortunately, in practice, MPAs are often mere lines on map, with little or no effort to prohibit or regulate damaging activities. This impacts on vulnerable habitats such as biogenic, geogenic reef, seagrass, saltmarsh and mudflat habitats, which once destroyed are unlikely to regenerate. 

Why?

Many governments are more interested in the sea for its economic potential and tend to overlook the importance of the marine natural world, both for its intrinsic value and, for instance, its role in climate regulation. A focus on “Blue Growth” means that their approach to the management of human activities at sea is a short-term one and therefore there is limited political will to champion MPAs and marine conservation. 

In the EU currently, 19 of 23 marine EU Member States, which includes the UK, are falling behind on developing management plans for MPAs. The main legal instruments for the designation and management of MPAs in Europe are the Habitats and Birds Directives and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Proper management of damaging activities in MPAs are legal requirements of the Directives, however, there is currently a low level of compliance with this legal framework at national level.

Client Earth

ClientEarth is a charity that uses the power of the law to protect the planet and the people who live on it and has recently pioneered a programme of work to protect the worlds oceans. 

Using legal tools, they work to strengthen and enforce laws that substantially reduce pressure on marine ecosystems, particularly from overfishing, habitat degradation, and pollution. Scientific advice and International Union for Conservation of Nature recommendations call for a minimum of 30% effective protection of ocean areas by 2030. 

ClientEarth therefore focusses its work on a comprehensive network of well-managed Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as an essential foundation for achieving broader ocean health, halting biodiversity loss and mitigating the impacts of climate change. 

Goal

To achieve stronger protection for MPAs and protected species as follows: 

  • Advocate for a strong global target for increasing MPA coverage, including enforceable and well implemented management for those MPAs; 
  • Ensure that MPAs protected by EU law are effectively protected, by ensuring that there is no industrial fishing, effective monitoring and enforcement against breaches of the law;
  • Secure proper protection of threatened marine species within the wider ocean. 

With these goals in mind and a focus on increasing the coverage of MPAs globally, on improving the status of MPAs that do not have management plans or poorly managed ones and on enforcing measures to protect marine species in the wider ocean this is a key project with global significance.  To leverage the impact of the work, ClientEarth collaborates with NGOs, local partner organisations and lawyers to build the capacity and cooperation of stakeholders at all levels. These partnerships underpin the work and act as a mechanism to amplify strategic impact.

ClientEarth has a proven track record of success using EU laws to secure sound management of protected areas and species both on land and at sea. Our team has successfully deployed legal arguments to prohibit damaging fishing practices in MPAs, particularly in areas that are part of the EU-wide network of Natura 2000 sites.

Education & Discovery

One of the major issues facing ocean conversation is that the vast majority of its waters are out of sight and out of mind. Through visual storytelling we aim to create a greater understanding of these extraordinary ecosystems and fuel passion about their vital importance for all of mankind; promoting responsible stewardship of them and ensuring the world’s oceans have a larger voice in the ecological debate. 

More than 80% of the ocean still remains unexplored, and we are committed to helping change that because new discoveries from the deep play a vital role in underpinning advances in social, economic, medicinal and environmental science.  By integrating the projects that we support with visual storytelling, we promote enthusiasm, understanding and interest about the oceans.

Ocean Futures

One of the early projects supported by the Arksen Foundation was the Ocean Futures Society. 

The mission of Ocean Futures Society is to explore our global ocean, inspiring and educating people throughout the world to act responsibly for its protection, documenting the critical connection between humanity and nature, and celebrating the ocean’s vital importance to the survival of all life on our planet.

More information: 

Ocean Futures Society was founded in 1999 by ocean explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau to carry on his dream – to explore the global oceans and share with the world the critical connection between the quality of the ocean and the quality of our lives. Jean-Michel and his team participated in the first attempt to rehabilitate a captive orca, Keiko, star of the “Free Willy” film, and return him to his ocean home. Documenting the entire journey, the Ocean Futures Society team learned first-hand of Keiko’s challenges and the accomplishment of his final freedom.

Ocean Futures Society is committed to educating the public on marine conservation and finding sustainable solutions to protect our ocean planet. From creating educational programs around the world that immerse children in nature, to communicating the importance of sustainable living, to producing documentaries that shed light on the state of the planet, Ocean Futures Society reaches both large and small audiences, winning hearts, and helping people fall in love with nature.

Jean-Michel and his team participated in the first attempt to rehabilitate a captive orca, Keiko, star of the “Free Willy” film, and to return him to his ocean home. Documenting the entire journey, the Ocean Futures Society team learned first-hand of Keiko’s challenges and the accomplishment of his final freedom.

Jean-Michel Cousteau and his team at Ocean Futures Society travel the world, meeting new people, new cultures, and new environments – always bringing with them their message of education, inspiration, and hope for a more sustainable future for our life-support system: the ocean.

Waterhaul

The Waterhaul project sits closely with the Arksen Foundations goals in their mission to clear fishing debris from our oceans which are harmful to marine life. Considering that 640,000 tonnes of fishing nets are discarded in the ocean every year, it is not a small task.  

Waterhaul is taking a collaborative approach and working with fishermen, NGOs and community groups to work together to remove the nets from the seas and beaches, either through prevention of them being released in the first place or by the activation of recovery projects.