Speakers Blue Invest
Speakers Blue Invest
Advisor Sustainable Finance & Policy
Sabina Bals is Sustainable Finance and Policy Advisor at WWF Germany. WWF’ sustainable finance practice is committed to redirecting financial flows away from activities that harm our planet toward those that heal. Hence, enabling a scienced- based transformation of our economic and social system is at center here. Bals’s work therefore focuses on how private and public actors can contribute to align financial activities with the planetary boundaries. Among others, Bals is in charge of the strategic partnership with DWS Group on the “DWS Concept ESG Blue Economy Fonds”. Its goal: Linking capital investments to the protection of the oceans. Prior to joining WWF Germany, Bals freelanced as Policy Advisor for Sustainable Finance and Climate Justice and studied environmental sciences, economics and environmental policy in Germany, Spain, and France.
Chris Gorell Barnes
Ocean 14 Capital
Chris Gorell Barnes is a social entrepreneur focussed on solving one of the world’s greatest threats the crisis in the oceans. He is Founding partner of Ocean 14 capital a €150M leading impact fund focused on ensuring a healthy ocean for everyone through a sustainable & regenerative blue economy and co-founder of the Blue marine foundation a world leading marine charity creating marine reserves and establishing sustainable models of fishing & innovative ocean conservation all over the world.
Group Financial Controller
Brenda holds a Bachelor of Art in Accounting and Finance from Liverpool John Moore’s University. She is also a Chartered Accountant, Chartered Tax Advisor and PRINCE2 Practitioner. Prior to joining XOCEAN, Brenda worked as an Associate Director and Leader of Training & Development with Grant Thornton.
She is the Group Financial Controller at XOCEAN Limited, leading the Finance, Supply Chain Management & Business Intelligence teams. XOCEAN limited is a young innovated technology company, delivering Ocean data globally, safely with very low emissions, using its internally development unmanned (robotic) surface vessels. During Brenda’s time with XOCEAN so far, the company successfully closed a significant investment round with the European Investment Bank, solidifying XOCEANs status as the market leader.
Providing over 10 years’ experience of leading respected and motivated teams Brenda takes an energetic, solutions-oriented and commercially-focused approach, has worked in a diverse number of sectors including FinTech, outsourcing, telecommunications and manufacturing. She has built a reputation for being insightful and resourceful; identifying the business-critical issues and then driving the strategic change initiatives required including business, operations and finance programmes to achieve superior service delivery and maximise business valuation.
Head of Business Development
– Stockholm School of Economics in Riga – Undergraduate degree (2016 – 2020)
– Aerones (2018 – Current)
Head of Business Development (2021 – Current)
Internation Project Manager (2020 – 2021)
Business Development Specialist (2018 – 2020)
Head of SDG Office
As a member of the Management Board and Head of SDG Office of FERI AG, Antje Biber is responsible for the SDG Sustainability strategy of the FERI Group. She actively works with various public institutions, has numerous public and educational assignments. She fully commits her work to the integration of the SDGs into the financial industry systems as well as the economy.
She joined FERI in 2005 and is the Chairwoman of the Board of FERI (Schweiz) AG. In Zurich, she is responsible for the entire Swiss business strategy and FERI unit, as well as the development and implementation of an international growth strategy including new innovative investment solutions.
The mathematics graduate (Heidelberg) has built up a global network of international institutions and major investors within her 20 years of experience in the financial industry, which are market leaders in the field of sustainability and impact-oriented investing.
Planet Ocean Fund
After his degree in finance and management, Markus worked for more than 15 years in different leadership positions in the fast moving consumer goods retail industry in Austria. Besides his agenda as a CFO, he led a successful e-commerce business in a midsized retailing company and built the first corporate VC in the fmcg industry in Austria.
In 2016 he decided to refocus his professional carreer and graduated in biological oceanography. Throughout his studies he realized how massive the threats imposed through climate- and biodiversity crisis are, if mankind is not transitioning at speed and scale to a net zero economy.
He dedicates his time now as founding partner of Planet Ocean Fund fully into the fight of climate- and biodiversity crisis. Planet Ocean Fund invests into early stage VCs focused on transition into plantbased nutrition, enabling technologies for renewable energy, carbon dioxide removal, circular economy and earth data generation. All with a focus on ocean based solutions, as there is no successful way to tackle climate issues without a healthy ocean.
Paul Buchwitz, CESGA, CFA
Head of Investment Strategy
Senior Portfolio Manager Equity
Lead Portfolio Manager of DWS Concept ESG Blue Economy and DWS Invest SDG Global Equities Joined the Company in 2007
Master’s Degree („Diplom-Kaufmann“) in Business Administration from University of Applied Sciences, HTW Berlin; CFA Charterholder; CEESGA – Certified Environmental Social and Governance Analyst Ambassador for Healthy Seas (https://www.healthyseas.org/)
Ocean Energy Europe
Donagh Cagney is Policy Director at Ocean Energy Europe – the trade association for the European wave & tidal sector. He oversees OEE’s policy work, and covers topics such as funding, innovation, State aid, EU offshore policy and finance. He previously worked at energy regulator Ofgem – where he focused on the Clean Energy Package and security of supply issues. Before entering the energy sector, Donagh worked on economic issues at Dublin Airport Authority and the European industry body for airport operators. Here his work centred on competition, economic regulation and State aid. He holds an MSc in Economics from Trinity College Dublin
Partner – Advisory
Head of Climate and Environmental Impact Investments
European Investment Fund (EIF)
Founder – CEO
Blue Carbon Lab
Senior Manager, BlueInvest
Deputy Chief Executive
European Investment Fund
Roger Havenith is Deputy Chief Executive of the EIF since 1 January 2016. In his role, Roger is part of the Fund’s governance providing leadership and direction to the institution. He deputises for the CE in the day-to-day management of the Fund, has specific responsibilities for supervising the risk management, compliance, financial control and middle/back-office services and acts as main senior counterpart for the EU institutions. Previously, he had several key roles at the EC: among others, he was a Commission negotiator in charge of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) SME Window, as part of the Investment Plan for Europe. He also led the EC’s Designated Service responsible for the negotiation, implementation and oversight of financial instruments under CIP, EPMF, MAP and other initiatives.
He has a B.A. in Business Administration from HEC St. Louis in Brussels (Belgium) and LL.M. in International and Comparative Law from Vrije Universiteit Brussel; He also earned a postgraduate degree in European Studies from Institut d’Etudes européennes de l’Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and M.A. as conference interpreter from Institut supérieur de Traducteurs et Interprètes/ULB.
Dr. Steffen Knodt
Head of the Center for Sustainable Ocean Business
Dr. Steffen Knodt is the Head of the Center for Sustainable Ocean Business at Fraunhofer and a co- author of the study “Sustainable Blue Economy – Transformation, Value and the Potential of Marine Ecosystems” (in collaboration with the FERI Cognitive Finance Institute). Dr. Knodt holds a PhD in engineering from RWTH Aachen and worked over his career for large corporates and startups. Within his recent positions Dr. Knodt focused his activities on corporate venturing and impact entrepreneurship, what lead to his own consultancy deepblue.earth. Dr. Knodt serves a member of the board in the German Association for Marine Technology GMT and in the board of the German Committee for the UN Ocean Decade of Science for Sustainable Development.
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder
Chief Development Officer
Stephanie brings in-depth knowledge of the fund and its investment strategy to head Development and Investor Relations at Aqua-Spark. Stephanie has been with A-Spark, the investment vehicle that launched Aqua-Spark, since its inception. As one of the lead investment managers, she oversaw a broad range of investments and helped develop the investment strategy in aquaculture. Stephanie built Aqua-Spark’s Expert Network, a group of fifty of the world’s foremost aquaculture experts. Prior to Aqua-Spark, Stephanie dedicated her talents to a variety of ventures, from running a business to healthcare projects to local, sustainable, and community-run endeavors in East Africa and Tanzania. Her experience working with local communities to develop and create solutions focused on possibilities instead of problems is what ignited her passion for helping SMEs launch and grow.
SWEN Capital Partners
Driven by his passion for the ocean, Olivier co-founded the Blue Ocean fund to invest in innovations that help regenerate ocean health. Blue Ocean is SWEN’s impact venture capital fund launched in 2021 in scientific partnership with Ifremer, France’s leading ocean science institute, and is the largest ocean impact innovation fund in the world with EUR 170 million. Blue Ocean focuses on solutions to overfishing, solutions to ocean pollution and marine solutions to climate change. Before that, Olivier worked 20 years in international banks with positions in France, Cameroon and China. Olivier is a life science engineer and holds an executive MBA from INSEAD.
Deputy Director General
DG MARE – European Commission
Kęstutis Sadauskas is a Lithuanian national. He holds Master degrees from Vilnius University in Political Science/International Relations and Geography.
From 1993 until 2006 he worked at the Lithuanian Foreign Service on multilateral issues. In September 2006 Kęstutis Sadauskas was appointed Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Vilnius.
From April 2010 until October 2014 he was Head of the Cabinet of Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta responsible for Taxation, Customs, Anti-fraud, Audit, and Statistics. From November 2014 until March 2022 Kęstutis Sadauskas has been the Director for Circular Economy and Green Growth at the DG Environment of the European Commission.
From 1st April 2022 Kestutis Sadauskas is Deputy Director-General in Directorate- General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission.
Global Ocean Trust
Torsten Thiele is an expert in ocean governance and sustainable blue finance, with over 20 years experience with leading financial institutions. He is an Affiliate Scholar at Research Institute for Sustainability, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam and Honorary Fellow at Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UK, a Strategic Advisor to the IUCN Blue Natural Capital Financing Facility and Senior Advisor, Blue Finance for the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance, a member of the Advisory Board of Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative and of the Scientific Committee of the Ocean-Climate Platform. He consults with a range of international bodies on ocean solutions and innovative blue finance. Torsten Thiele holds graduate degrees in economics, law, public administration and conservation leadership from the universities of Cambridge, Bonn and Harvard.
Karla Martínez Toral
Sustainable Blue Economy Consultant
UNEP – Finance Initiative
Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Initiative
Karla is a consultant working for the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Initiative, which aims to help financial institutions align to the Sustainable Development Goal 14 – Life Below Water. Before joining the team at the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), she worked in international dispute resolutions in an international law firm and, separately, conducted climate litigation research for an academic institution. She is passionate about sustainable development and ecosystem conservation efforts.
Karla has recently co-authored a policy briefing for the T20 in Indonesia regarding how governments can support financing the sustainable blue economy, as well as two academic publications on climate litigation. Karla studied Law at Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas, and holds a Master’s Degree in International Development from the University of Bristol.
Klaas de Vos
Ocean Fox Advisory
Klaas de Vos is an independent consultant working on finance for the sustainable development of the ocean. Klaas provides a skill set and point of view at the intersection of conservation, finance and policy. He is passionate about the ocean and has worked on a variety of issues including sustainable fisheries, marine conservation and tackling plastic waste. He has worked for the public and private sector in the developed and developing world, including in Vietnam, the UK, the Netherlands, Colombia, Mexico, Mozambique and Indonesia.
In recent years, his focus has been on the application of sustainable financing to the ocean, finding ways to unlock capital for the transition to a sustainable blue economy and pinpointing what sustainability really means for finance. Klaas has authored a number of publications on the topic of finance for the sustainable blue economy, including The Ocean Finance Handbook for the Friends of Ocean Action and Turning the Tide and Diving Deep, practical guidance for financial institutions on finance for the sustainable blue economy released by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative.
I am a specialist in mid-market cross-border M&A and placement services. With over 16 years of experience, I have built a network in the LP and GP community in Europe and the US working both on the buy- and sell-side. Recently, we engaged into the Blue Economy fundraising. Our aim is to fundraise 1B EUR for global Impact investment initiatives in the coming 12 months. We work on development of the global decarbonisation projects, regenerative tourism, green hydrogen matching investors with Green and Blue infrastructural investment projects.
Sector Economist Marine Biodiversity
and Sustainable Fisheries
KfW Development Bank
Kai Wiegler has an academic background as economist and geologist. He has been working for the German governmental development cooperation around the topics of sustainable fisheries, aquaculture and coastal zone management since 2005. This involved project-planning, implementation support and review missions in more than 40 development and newly industrializing countries. Kai helped in designing the „Blue Action Fund“ and is the sector economist for marine biodiversity and sustainable fisheries of KfW Development Bank for over a year now. In 2020 alone, KfW committed more than EUR 264 million on behalf of the German Federal Government to protect marine biodiversity and promote sustainable fisheries & aquaculture around the world. Out of these funds, EUR 28 million had been provided to help protect and sustainably manage 14 conservation areas spanning around 7,200 square kilometres.