The UN Environment Programme recently published a study warning against the economic harm that deep sea mining could cause.
The deep sea contains many of the most pristine ecosystems on our planet and plays a crucial role in regulating the climate, according to UNEP’s Finance Initiative.
“Plans to mine this unique and complex area of our planet would create irreversible ecosystem and habitat loss, as well as permanently destroy invaluable carbon storage.”
UNEP FI published a briefing paper this month, sending a clear message to its members and the wider finance community:
“In their current form, there is no foreseeable way in which the financing of deep-sea mining activities can be viewed as consistent with the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles.”
The paper discusses the significant reputational, regulatory and operational risks associated with plans to mine the deep seabed of minerals. It also addresses how financial institutions should respond to the deep-sea mining sector.
Additionally, the paper lays out how financial institutions looking to pay for the extraction of necessary rare earths and metals could focus efforts on alternative strategies that would reduce the environmental footprint of terrestrial mining and support the transition toward what UNEP calls “a circular economy.”