Paul Holthus

CEO
World Ocean Council

Paul Holthus is founder of the World Ocean Council (WOC), the international, multi-industry alliance for ocean business community leadership, collaboration and action on the Blue Economy.

WOC brings together leadership companies shipping, fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, oil/gas, offshore renewables, mining, submarine cables, ports, investment and other sectors. The WOC is the only organization listed by UN Global Compact to guide companies to action-oriented platforms and tools supporting SDG 14.

Paul has been advancing ocean business sustainable development for over 35 years and engaging the ocean business community in the SDGs since 2013 through the WOC network of 35,000+ ocean industry stakeholders.

Paul has been very active on the engaging and representing industry in developing the Blue Economy worldwide and in Africa. For example, in 2018-19, he was key speaker at the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference (Nairobi), Nordic-Africa Business Summit (Oslo), the Africa Blue Economy Forum (London, 2018; Tunis, 2019), and the German-African Business Association (Berlin). WOC organized the “Business Roundtable” at the GEF, UNDP Africa Regional Network Meeting on Marine Ecosystems (Dakar). He was also plenary speaker on “Business Community Leadership and Collaboration in the African Maritime Domain” at the Africa Maritime Domain Conference (Port Elizabeth, 2014).

Paul has worked in over 30 countries, with companies, communities, industry associations, UN agencies, NGOs, foundations and governments to develop practical solutions to ocean sustainable development. He has held senior positions with UN Environment and with several international organizations, including IUCN and the Nature Conservancy.

Paul is a frequent speaker at the international business and maritime conferences, was invited to be on the UN Secretary General’s ocean expert advisory panel for Rio+20, is the only ocean industry organization representative to be invited to address the UN General Assembly and is on a growing number of international ocean business-related boards.