World Economic Forum and Aker Group Announce Technology Centre for Ocean and Environment

24 Sep 2019

Alem Tedeneke, Public Engagement: +1 646 204 9191, email:

  • The new Centre in Norway is dedicated to harnessing advances in technology to preserve the oceans and improve the environmental footprint of ocean industries.
  • It joins the Forum’s global network of Centres for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and will focus exclusively on the ocean and the environment.
  • Safeguarding and improving the health of the ocean is necessary to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
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New York, USA, 24 September 2019 – The Aker group and the World Economic Forum today announced the establishment of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Norway (C4IR Norway), dedicated to harnessing advances in technology to preserve our oceans and improve the environmental footprint of ocean industries. Through public-private partnerships, the Centre will develop governance frameworks and solutions for a sustainable and profitable ocean economy, using digital technology ranging from artificial intelligence to blockchain.

The C4IR Norway will join the Forum’s global C4IR Network and collaborate with the Government of Norway and the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. The Centre will provide a platform for partnerships on governance policies, research and business solutions that can accelerate the application of science, data and technology in the public interest. The Centre will be an independent, non-profit foundation, financed initially by founding partner, the Aker group. Aker has gained valuable experience through engaging in cross-sector partnering between its own commercial and non-profit entities, such as REV Ocean, the Ocean Data Foundation and VI Foundation. Once operational, the Centre will be open to partners and projects from the public and private sectors.

“Throughout its 180-year history, the Aker group has been a driving force in the development of knowledge-based industry related to ocean resources,” said Øyvind Eriksen, the company’s president and chief executive officer. “The ambition with this Centre is to leverage our offshore expertise and the Nordic model of collaboration between the public and the private sectors to accelerate the application of technology that can reduce the industry’s environmental footprint. Only through collaboration between business, government and NGOs will we unlock the great potential that resides in digital technology to promote sustainable development – for our societies, for value-creation and for the environment.”

To reach the SDGs, the ocean will need to provide the world with more food, jobs, energy and raw materials. According to estimates from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the value of the ocean economy could exceed $3 trillion by 2030, providing more than 40 million jobs. Fulfilling this potential will, however, require safeguarding and improving the health of the ocean.

“Building a sustainable ocean economy is one of the most important tasks and greatest opportunities of our time. To mitigate the threats to a healthy and productive ocean, we need to move faster,” underlined Vidar Helgesen, Norway’s Special Envoy to the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. “The Norwegian government welcomes the new technology centre at Fornebu as an essential contribution to ocean health and wealth. It can bring together actors from business, academia and civil society in developing groundbreaking ocean solutions.”

Today, the ocean is under immense pressure as a result of climate change, pollution and overexploitation, with biodiversity declining as a result. Saving marine ecosystems will require innovative policies, good governance, technology, research and new business solutions, based on sound scientific data.

“We have an opportunity to shape the future of emerging technology and the future of our planet,” said Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum. “The new Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Norway will bring together some of the world’s top minds to co-design innovation policy solutions to achieve the SDGs and protect our ocean. Powered by the Forum’s international network of Centres, this Affiliate will be able to accelerate and scale up quickly.”

As an affiliate of the C4IR in San Francisco, which opened in 2017, the technology centre in Norway will be the only centre among the seven in the network to focus on the environment. The Centre’s initial projects will fall into three categories: minimizing the environmental footprint of ocean-related industrial activities; harnessing big data to optimize marine resource mapping, monitoring and management; and using digital technology tools to protect marine biodiversity.

Across all the projects, C4IR Norway will showcase best practice among policy-makers, industry practitioners, scientists and innovators; spread awareness; build knowledge and networks; promote solutions and share lessons learned.

The Aker group is composed of Aker, Aker BP, Aker BioMarine, Aker Energy, Aker Solutions, Cognite and Kvaerner, as well as the Ocean Data Foundation and REV Ocean. Initially, the Centre will be based at the Aker headquarters at Fornebu, Norway, before moving into the World Ocean Headquarters, an ocean cluster being developed by Aker and REV Ocean. The Centre will officially open on 1 January 2020. The recruitment of a director for the Centre is currently under way.

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