Paul Holthus, Founding President and CEO of World Ocean Council
What does World Ocean Council do?
The world ocean council brings together the diverse range of motion industries (shipping, ports, fishing, aquaculture, tourism, offshore energy, submarine cables and others), as well as the investment community, to collaborate on leadership for a sustainable Blue Economy.
When did you start working at the company and when was it founded?
The WOC was founded in 2009 by myself and a group of founding member companies from a range of ocean industry sectors from around the world.
What do you like most about your job?
I have the opportunity to meet good, smart people from a lot of great companies from around the world. I get to introduce them to each other and work with them to identify areas of common interest and opportunity for a healthy ocean - and then be a part of the action that happens!
And the least?
I am away from my family a lot while travelling.
What do you think makes your institution unique?
The World Ocean Council stands out as the only global business organization focused on harnessing the role of the business community to work together across industries to ensure we have a healthy ocean.
What is your main challenge?
Finding enough time to work with all the great people I get to meet and develop the connections and synergies for us all to work on projects and initiatives that are good for business and good for the ocean.
Where is your entity located? Do you know why this location was chosen?
I am extremely honored and excited to announce that the global headquarters the WOC is now in Barcelona! This vibrant city on the shores of the Mediterranean has amazing people, companies, organizations, and civic institutions in a diverse coastal and marine business ecosystem. When coupled with its impressive Blue Economy strategy, this means that Barcelona is on its way to becoming the world's leading Blue Economy hub.
And the WOC is here to help make that happen!
What do you like most about the neighborhood where you work?
The WOC's office will be in the World Trade Center, surrounded by the sea and maritime business and recreation - the perfect location in the perfect HQ city for us! For example, the WOC is developing a Mediterranean program, and there is no better place to do that than from an office looking out over the Mediterranean.
How important is Barcelona for your company?
Barcelona is incredibly important for the future of the World Ocean Council. The support of the City Hall and the Port, as well as Barcelona international and local business community, provides a foundation and dynamic energy to propel the WOC to even greater success as the global business alliance for Corporate Ocean Responsibility. We are working to bring international events, jobs, innovation, and opportunities to Barcelona through our presence and activities.
With which city would you compare Barcelona?
From my experience, I would compare Barcelona to Sydney, Australia. Both are large modern cities built facing the sea with dynamic populations that take advantage of their climate and the coastal lifestyle and the ocean work and recreation opportunities that each city provides.
What form of urban model should Barcelona adopt?
Barcelona should embrace and embody the principles and practices of sustainability, circular economy, social responsibility, innovation, energy transition and digitalization to become the model coastal port city of the future. All of these are opportunities for business development and leadership that can contribute to the future of other port cities as well.
What good practices from other cities would you like Barcelona to adopt?
The city of Singapore has been doing well to link business, research, and government in a dynamic triple helix approach that it is fostering innovation, business opportunities and responsible economic development.
What do you ask of the Barcelona of the future?
I would ask Barcelona to keep its eyes on the international horizon and ocean of opportunities for the Blue Economy. If the city maintains its commitment to become the world's leading Blue Economy hub, Barcelona's people, businesses, and seas will benefit - and others around the world will benefit from this leadership as well.