Press Release

Businesses Commit to Protecting the Ocean: Bank of the West Named First Corporate Sponsor of Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) Announced at Aspen Ideas Festival
With Sustainable Ocean Alliance, Bank of the West to Launch SOA Ocean Leadership Council; Network to promote private sector leadership to shape the global ocean agenda

Aspen, CO

Bank of the West, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, has been named as the first corporate sponsor of Sustainable Ocean Alliance, a global non-profit organization that advances the impact of startups, social enterprises and youth-centered initiatives that are developing solutions to protect and sustain the ocean. A major focus of the sponsorship is to identify companies working on innovative ocean technologies and to provide the resources and mentorship to scale up those enterprises. 

Additionally, Bank of the West and Sustainable Ocean Alliance launched the SOA Ocean Leadership Council, a network of private sector leaders committed to taking urgent action by supporting ocean technology, investing in the next generation of innovators, and shaping the ocean agenda on a global scale.

The SOA Ocean Leadership Council will be comprised of businesses from around the world that are aligned with preserving the health and sustainability of the global ocean, guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14, Life Below Water.

"While many corporations are setting social responsibility targets related to the ocean and the environment, their roles and responsibilities are often undefined, and lacking a platform to direct concrete sustainable initiatives and actions." says Daniela V. Fernandez, founder and CEO of Sustainable Ocean Alliance. "We see the need to provide private sector leaders a community to spearhead the charge. The SOA Ocean Leadership Council aims to provide direction, resources, and support to directly engage with specific ocean-related issues, informed by SOAs network of young leaders, ocean experts and advocates across 135 countries."

Council members will commit to advancing ocean conservation and restoration in a wide range of capacities and will contribute to the collaborative thought leadership necessary to break down silos and advance the coordinated implementation of sustainable business practices.

"This collaborative relationship speaks directly to our commitment to doing what's best for the planet while serving our customers, our employees and society," said Nandita Bakhshi, President and CEO of Bank of the West "According to the United Nations, only 3% of the ocean is totally free from the pressures of human activities, and a staggering 40 percent of the ocean has been significantly affected by humans. We are pleased to take on this leadership role within the private sector to promote sustainable business."

About Sustainable Ocean Alliance
Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) is a global non-profit organization that advances the impact of startups, social enterprises and youth-centered initiatives that are developing solutions to protect and sustain our ocean. SOA's pipeline of ocean leaders is cultivated through a hub-based model, led by students at the collegiate and young professional levels.

Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) was founded in 2014 as a college-room idea. With phenomenal speed, SOA has created the world's largest network of young ocean leaders – through establishing a presence in over 135 countries, launching the first-ever Ocean Solutions Accelerator to support ocean startups, and partnering with corporations, NGOs, and governments, to develop technological solutions that can address the greatest threats facing our planet.

Connect with Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram using handle @soalliance.

About Bank of the West
We are driven by our fundamental belief in redefining banking for a better future. At a time when people demand more from companies, we are taking action to ensure our activities help protect the planet, improve people's lives, and strengthen communities. That's why we are focusing on areas where we can have a real impact: supporting energy transition, helping enable women entrepreneurs and financing innovative start-ups. As the bank for a changing world, Bank of the West is committed to sustainable finance along with our parent company BNP Paribas. Through Digital Channels and offices across the U.S., Bank of the West provides financial tools and resources to more than 2 million individuals, families and businesses.

Connect with Bank of the West

Media Contact: 
Lily Ruiz
Corporate Communications

Haley Steinhauser 
Public Relations
Sustainable Ocean Alliance


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