Digital hub designed to protect coral reefs shortlisted for global award

Coral reefs are believed to have the highest biodiversity of any ecosystem on the planet, even more than tropical rainforests. Occupying less than one per cent of the ocean floor, coral reefs are home to more than twenty-five percent of marine life. We work closely with a UK Charity / UN recognised NGO called Reef World on various projects that they spearhead around the world to help protect coral and marine environments.

One of the latest initiatives we’re supporting is The Green Fins Global Hub by The Reef-World Foundation, which is being developed in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Thanks to its potential to transform the approach to conserve biodiversity and end human-induced species extinctions, the Green Fins Global Hub has been shortlisted as a finalist in the 2020 Con X Tech Prize for its digital platform to help dive professionals protect fragile coral reefs.

Once up and running, the hub aims to provide more than 30,000 dive and snorkel operators across 100 countries with practical information on how to reduce the impact that tourism has on coral reefs. Among other things, it will showcase low-cost alternatives to harmful practices, like anchoring and fish feeding, while helping operators limit chemical pollution.

Marine life


Marine life and coral at Nusa Ceningan, Indonesia. Photo by The Reef-World Foundation

“UNEP is proud to support the work of the Reef-World Foundation and Green Fins to promote sustainable tourism practices around the world,” said UNEP marine ecosystems expert Gabriel Grimsditch. “As tourism businesses recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that they do so in an environmentally sustainable manner that does not harm the ecosystems that their businesses depend on.”

Reef-World is one of 20 finalists for the Con X Prize and was shortlisted from 167 submissions from around the world. Each of the shortlisted teams received $3,500 to turn their idea into a prototype. In October, one project will be awarded the $20,000 grand prize.

James Greenhalgh, Digital Strategy Manager at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “There is no other product like the Global Hub on the market and our market research shows strong industry demand for a service providing this type of solution. The hub will enable operators to train and empower their staff to adopt better environmental behaviours and collaborate with other businesses. We’re excited about the project’s potential to benefit reefs globally.”



Photo by The Reef-World Foundation

Reef-World has already secured funding for this project from UNEP, The Matthew Good Foundation and G-Research. It is continuing to fundraise to cover the remaining development costs.

Tom Quigley, Community Manager at Conservation X Labs, said: “The Con X Tech Prize is meant for opportunities just like this – where some funding and support through a prototyping sprint can help a product like Green Fins make a transformative leap in the scale of their impact. We’re excited to see what Reef-World builds over the prototyping period.”