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Press Release

Aker Group and World Economic Forum Launch Technology Center for Ocean and Environment

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The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Norway will harness digital innovation for a sustainable and profitable ocean economy.

NEW YORK, Sept. 24, 2019 -- The Aker group and the World Economic Forum (WEF) today announced the establishment of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Norway (C4IR Norway), dedicated to harnessing the advances of technology to preserve our ocean 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 (AI) to Blockchain.

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The C4IR Norway will join the WEF’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, Ocean Data Foundation, and VI Foundation. Once operational, the Centre will be open to new partners and projects from both the public and the private sector.

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 Aker President and CEO Øyvind Eriksen. “The ambition with this Centre is to leverage our offshore expertise and the Nordic model of collaboration between the public and the private sector 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 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the ocean will need to provide the world with more food, jobs, energy, and raw materials. According to OECD estimates, the value of the ocean economy could exceed $3 trillion by 2030, providing more than 40 million jobs. However, fulfilling this potential will require improving the energy efficiency of offshore industries, and 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 center 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 notably due to climate change, pollution, and overexploitation, with declining biodiversity as a result. Saving the 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 innovative policy solutions to achieve the SDGs and protect our oceans. Powered by the Forum’s international network of Centres, this Affiliate will be able to accelerate and scale quickly.” 

As an affiliate of the C4IR in San Francisco, which opened in 2017, the technology center in Norway will be the only center 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.

The Aker group founding partner of the C4IR Norway is composed of Aker, Aker BP, Aker BioMarine, Aker Energy, Aker Solutions, Cognite, and Kvaerner, as well as Ocean Data Foundation and REV Ocean.

“Cognite’s involvement in the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Norway is a perfect example of our industry-agnostic technology,” Dr. John Markus Lervik, CEO of Cognite, said. “Liberating data from silos and placing it in a greater context benefits any data-driven approach to working, whether it is taking place in the control room, the laboratory, or out in the field.”

Across all the projects, the technology center for the ocean in Norway aims to showcase best practice among policymakers, industry practitioners, scientists, and innovators; spread awareness; build knowledge and networks; promote solutions and share lessons learned. 

The C4IR Norway will at first 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 Jan. 1, 2020. The recruitment of a director for the Centre is currently underway.

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