The Blue economy, creativity and innovation inspired by nature

The Blue Economy represents a great opportunity for economic and sustainable progress, a commitment that requires responsibility and international cooperation. Preserving and protecting seas and oceans is a priority for all organizations in order to ensure a future for new generations.

Blue economy: a rapidly changing context

With Blue Economy we mean a sustainable economic development model based on the responsible and intelligent use of marine and coastal resources. Today, the Blue Economy has a global value of more than $1.5 trillion per year and more than 30 million jobs [1].
For Italy, a country that boasts a strategic position in the Mediterranean and has 7,914 km of coastline [2], the Blue Economy inevitably represents an enormous source of added value. Currently, the main sectors related to the Blue Economy and the seabed include shipbuilding and repair, maritime transport, coastal tourism, port activities, marine renewable energies, marine biological resources (i.e., relating to all living beings in the sea ecosystem), non-biological marine resources (referring to the extraction of raw materials), and underwater archaeology.
The Blue Economy aims to leverage the potential of the waters with the utmost respect for biodiversity and marine ecosystems, deriving increasing benefits also from technological developments. Examples include emerging trends such as marine renewable energy, blue biotechnology with a focus on algae, and the use of new technologies and new business models applied to traditional sectors.

[1] Source: The London School of Economics and Political Science [2] SourceOne Ocean Foundation

The commitment of Intesa Sanpaolo

Fostering and supporting the creation of new sustainable businesses, also by contributing to the development of specific skills, and supporting the construction of ecosystems that can accelerate the design of innovative solutions, is increasingly one of our Bank's priorities. Intesa Sanpaolo sees in the development of the Blue Economy a great growth opportunity for the country and for this reason is launching several initiatives precisely because of the potential of this trend, from which new challenges and opportunities will arise, particularly for the new generations.
In this context, young people become indispensable drivers to imagine innovation solutions and visions to protect and regenerate rivers, lakes, seas and oceans, and to accelerate the move towards 'zero pollution'[1].

[1] SourceSustainable Development Goals, 2030 Agenda.

Initiatives within Education

In the field of Education, Intesa Sanpaolo supports schools with programs aimed at inspiring and guiding young people through the main transformational trends in society, including the Blue Economy, also involving the relevant institutions. In particular, the Bank leverages its ecosystem of partners and digital platforms, already used by thousands of students in Italy, to develop structured programs that raise awareness among the new generations, and society in general, of the importance and protection of the oceans and seas. In this context, programs have already been launched with schools that include events in several Italian cities and involve thousands of students nationwide in specific actions aimed at inspiring them, making them protagonists of unique and special experiences, arousing their curiosity and enthusiasm, and creating awareness of the many opportunities offered by the sea economy.

The Wave Angels challenge, a concrete example

Wave Angels is the project that Intesa Sanpaolo, WeSchool and One Ocean Foundation have devised to involve high school students in the challenges of safeguarding and protecting the seas and oceans and represents a concrete example of our commitment to involve students in the development of the Blue Economy by devising proposals and solutions related to marine issues.
How? Students have access to the  Wave Angels digital platform where they can find multidisciplinary and experiential content related to the Blue Economy that introduces key concepts, production activities, professionals in the sector, and in-depth information on the peculiarities of the marine ecosystem. In addition, there are virtuous examples of companies that have made environmental protection their mission.
The students, supported by their teachers, have the opportunity to imagine concrete solutions to meet the challenges of the future, such as: reducing water consumption in the production cycle of their products, cohabitation with local marine fauna and flora, and the transition to carbon-free by harnessing the power of water. By exploring these areas, they discover the skills needed to protect marine biodiversity and develop the Blue Economy.
The challenge involves the development of a project work in which the students, working in small groups and playing the role of CEO, will have to imagine and define strategies to make their idea sustainable.

4 challenges to choose from - the winning teams

  1. Water Save - for a fashion company to invent an innovative water-efficient production plant that recycles waste water and disposes of pollutants in a responsible manner;
  2. Clean Energy – for an automotive company, imagine powering it with renewable energy from the oceans.
  3. Wave Voice – as a social media information manager launch a communication campaign for an emerging brand to inform and raise awareness about the risks to marine biodiversity;
  4. Marine Research – as CEO of a consulting company commissioned by the mayor of a heavily polluted seaside town to completely rethink the environmental impact on aquatic flora and fauna.

At the end of the project, out of more than 1000 students from 50 secondary schools, the 4 best project works were selected: 16 winning students had the opportunity to fly to Barcelona and take part in the UN Ocean Decade Conference, the world's most important conference on Blue Economy issues held in early April 2024.
These are the winning teams:

  • - Challenge Water Save - team consisting of Flavio Barberi, Giulia Lucioli and Hamza Botass of the class 3CMNA - IIS Polo Tecnologico Imperiese - ITTL Andrea Doria (Imperia) with the project ‘'Development and implementation of sustainable practices in the textile industry”
  • - Challenge Clean Energy - team consisting of Omar Revello, Mario Elena, Beatrice Cabras and Ivano Chiarolanza of the class 3CMNB - IIS Polo Tecnologico Imperiese - ITTL Andrea Doria (Imperia) with the project "Gattai’s Implant"
  • - Challenge Wave Voice - team consisting of Aurora Di Palma, Vittoria Iuffredo, Miriam Irace and Natalia Parkhomenko of the classe 4H - Liceo Scientifico Renato Caccioppoli (Napoli) col progetto "Blue Planet Squad"
  • - Sfida Marine Research - team consisting of Luigi Peirano, Giorgia Chiapello, Pietro Imparato, Nicolas Tatti of the class 3CMNB - IIS Polo Tecnologico Imperiese - ITTL Andrea Doria (Imperia) with the project “The rebirth of Alassio".

Sustainability and ecological transition: a challenge to be met together

The oceans, seas, environment, and humans cannot afford any further loss of natural capital. It is necessary to promote a cultural change that aims at sustainability     à and ecological transition, through an inclusive pathway involving the collaboration of all actors: institutions with clear strategies and action plans; businesses with the adoption or support of new production models; citizens with the responsibility to protect the planet and its resources for the benefit of all, as the new generations are asking us to do.