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Reef-World’s 2023 Impact Report — Driving Sustainable Marine Tourism Amidst Global Challenges

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Reef-World has expanded its impact, welcomed new team members, and embraced growth while prioritising employee well-being

The Reef-World Foundation — the leading voice in sustainable marine tourism and the international coordinator of the UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative —released its Impact Report for 2022 – 2023, outlining a year of significant achievements, innovative initiatives and groundbreaking collaboration.

In a year marked by global challenges, The Reef-World Foundation has been resilient and continued to excel in its mission to protect and conserve coral reefs and related ecosystems. The organisation has expanded its impact, welcomed new team members and embraced the opportunity for growth, all while remaining dedicated to the well-being of its employees.

Chair of The Reef-World Foundation, Vic Hancock Fell, said, “The past year has been both challenging and transformative. We’ve embraced new faces and a culture of care, further igniting our passion for safeguarding coral reefs and our natural world. We’ve redefined our strategic objectives to drive immediate, collective action in the marine tourism industry.”

Impact Report Highlights

  • Our Programmes: Green Fins, Reef-World’s flagship program, continues to set environmental industry standards and has made significant strides in protecting coral reefs globally. The Green Fins network now covers over 60 countries, an expansion from 14 in the previous year! Through the Youth Ambassador Programme, 2,432 students in the Dominican Republic are educated about marine ecology, creating Youth Ambassadors for reef protection.
  • Sustainability Targets: Reef-World diligently works toward achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a particular focus on SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and SDG 14 (Life Below Water). 
  • Impactful Partnerships: In partnership with Reef-World, PADI established Eco Centers to recognise continuous conservation commitments. Reef-World’s supported survey, featuring partners like PADI, RAID, PSS, and ZuBlu, garnered 2,400 responses from April to June 2022, uncovering evolving travel trends and sustainability’s growing role in post-COVID-19 tourism.
  • Expanding Communications: Reef-World’s refined approach amplifies its global message of sustainable marine tourism through increased social media engagement, press coverage, and a reformed communications strategy.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Reef-World’s commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion is reflected in its core values, culture of care and workforce capacity-building.

In the face of pressing climate change impacts, the need for immediate climate action is undeniable. The Reef-World Foundation has set the stage for a future where marine tourism will champion sustainable practices as the norm, offering solutions and hope for the world’s coral reefs.

Looking Forward

As Reef-World continues to grow and innovate, it remains committed to promoting environmental conservation and employee well-being. The organisation’s dedication to a Culture of Care and its efforts in fostering Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) set a shining example for the marine conservation sector and beyond.

“The launch of Green Fins Hub is positively a dream come true for us all, seeing the fruits of our labour over the years, and this is only the beginning. There is lots more work to be done, and now Reef-World has stronger foundations upon which to build, the only way is onwards and upwards,” said JJ Harvey, Operations Director at the Reef-World Foundation 

The Reef-World Foundation is immensely grateful for the continued support of its grant funders: UN Environment Programme, IDB LabThe Matthew Good FoundationAqaba Special Economic Zone Authority and GIZ (German development agency) in Jordan.

Reef-World would also like to express its gratitude to international partners whose vital support has resulted in significant tangible benefits for our work and mission: PADI; Professional SCUBA Schools International (PSS)Explorer Ventures1% for the PlanetZuBluSnorkel VentureGSTC; Dive O’ClockWildSocksCharitable Travel and Seven Dragons, without whom these achievements would not be possible. 

Find the full 2022–2023 Impact Report on Reef-World’s website.


Blue Horizon

About Author

The Reef-World Foundation is a registered UK charity which delivers practical solutions for marine conservation around the world. The charity promotes the wise use of natural resources - particularly coral reefs and related ecosystems - for the benefit of local communities, visitors and future generations. It is dedicated to supporting, inspiring and empowering governments, businesses, communities and individuals around the world to act in conserving and sustainably developing coastal resources. Reef-World leads the global implementation of the UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative, which focuses on driving environmentally friendly scuba diving and snorkelling practices across the industry globally. As such, the charity provides low cost and practical solutions to local and industry-wide environmental challenges associated with the marine tourism industry. It provides education and capacity building assistance to empower environmental champions (within the diving industry, local communities, authorities and governments) to implement proven coastal resource management approaches.

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