Seaweeds are a valuable, underused resource. It is my belief that in a future bio-based, carbon-negative economy, seaweeds will have a larger role to play than they currently do.
To achieve that future, a lot of barriers need to be overcome in every aspect of the value chain: fundamental science, regulations, investment, farming and harvesting, distribution, processing, applications, certifications and conservation.
The goal of Phyconomy is to improve the flow of information between
- the different parts of the value chain
- academia, business, investors and government
- different parts of the world.
If you would like to get in touch, send an e-mail to [email protected].
A bit of history
Seaweeds had caught my attention in 2019. I had been thinking about the economics of ecosystem restoration for some time and seaweeds felt like a unique place where ecosystem restoration could potentially pay for itself. It felt like this could be a new interest for me after I had exhausted my curiosity about Central Asia, running a travel guide/booking platform for the region for nearly a decade.
With the collapse of travel in 2020, I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands to work on something new. I knew absolutely nothing about seaweeds, but I had a strong desire to learn and share what I found out. If I had these questions, there must have been others out there with the same problems. Maybe I could help us all out. It was worth a try.
I started the newsletter and the seaweed database in late 2020 as ways to collate and curate information about the seaweed industry, with a focus on the business side of things. In 2021, I received a grant from the ClimateWorks Foundation to seriously expand the database.
At the end of 2021, I published my first State of the Seaweed Industry. This led to a number of consulting assignments in 2022, writing reports on the future of the seaweed industry in Europe and Africa. I also spoke at conferences in Scotland, Germany and India.
At the end of 2022, I published my second State of the Seaweed Industry. In the past 2 years, Phyconomy was referenced in
- newspapers like the Financial Times
- academic papers by the likes of Carlos Duarte and Dorte Krause-Jensen in Nature Sustainability
- policy papers like that of Seaweed for Europe, Hatch’s World Bank report, and various EU Blue Bioeconomy policy papers (eg. here and here).
It’s 2023 as I write this, and I am not quite certain yet how to take Phyconomy forward. My original mission to improve the flow of information within the seaweed industry remains the focus.
Where else can reliable data be found about prices, volumes, locations, applications? How can I get that data out in the open? Bring it together so it becomes useful information? Make the project self-sustaining?
And how can I make it easier for people in various part of the seaweed industry to find and connect to the right person at the right time? Hold the space to spark those conversations, collaborations and transactions? At scale?
These are the questions that occupy me at the moment. Feel free to get in touch if you have ideas.