The Global Marine and Polar Programme (GMPP) is working closely with private business in a number of marine projects with the chief aim of influencing private companies so that they act in ways that will contribute to conservation and sustainable development. The rationale for establishing relationships with the private sector is that private business is an integral part of society and its activities are often at the root of the problems relating to conservation of nature and natural resources. IUCN believes that viable solutions to these problems are best achieved through cooperation and not through confrontation. 

GMPP has engaged primarily with the oil and gas sector (establishing independent scientific panels, conducting field work), the tourism sector (conducting field work, building awareness, creating outreach), the fishing sector (providing expert advice) and the marine-based energy sector.

These engagements include establishing and running an independent scientific panel on western North Pacific gray whales (WGWAP) in relation to the Sakhalin-II Phase 2 oil and gas project on the Sakhalin Shelf. The WGWAP has, through advice provided to Sakhalin Energy Investment Company (SEIC), helped SEIC to minimize and mitigate the impact of its operations on gray whales in the vicinity of Sakhalin Island. Another GMP engagement with private business is the MoU/MoC with Shell (Qatar) in relation to its Pearl Gas to Liquid project, one of the World’s largest such facilities, where GMPP is assisting Shell (Qatar) in identifying and developing biodiversity offsets. GMPP is also working with Total (Yemen) on establishing and running an independent scientific panel related to the Total-Yemen Liquefied Natural Gas project. This panel will provide advice that will allow Total (Yemen) to minimise and mitigate any possible harm or damage to the unique coral reef biodiversity.

There is a growing interest within private business to engage in conservation dialogue, and future GMPP engagement with business will focus on developing new and innovative partnerships, particularly with the oil and gas, fishing and shipping industries.