Blue growth and ecosystem services
The recent years have witnessed a rise in interest in the ocean economy. To cover a more sustainable dimension, terms such as ‘blue economy’ and ‘blue growth’ have been coined, and are increasingly used in international contexts and academic literature. However, there are no generally accepted definitions of these ‘blue’ concepts. In particular, it is not clear what connotation of sustainability and what role of natural environment is linked to these terms. The objective of this study is to retrace the meaning of the concepts of blue economy and blue growth and include them in a coherent environmental accounting framework. Starting from the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting of the United Nations, a set of assumptions is proposed to link blue economy/growth and ecosystem services, including the creation of an adjusted measure of value added, while considering the depletion and degradation of the environment and the value of non-market benefits provided by the ecosystem. Finally, an example of this approach in the case of the Mediterranean Sea is presented.