Blue Ventures: Building Transformative Approaches for Catalyzing and Sustaining Locally Led Marine Conservation

Blue Ventures: Building Transformative Approaches for Catalyzing and Sustaining Locally Led Marine Conservation
Case Code: LDEN182
Case Length: 15 Pages
Period: 2003 -2021
Pub Date: 2022
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.400
Organization : Blue Ventures
Industry :Government & Non-Profit Organisations
Countries : Madagascar
Themes: Social Entrepreneurship, Sustainable Innovation, Sustainability, Disaster Management
Blue Ventures: Building Transformative Approaches for Catalyzing and Sustaining Locally Led Marine Conservation
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


Alasdair Harris (Harris), a marine ecologist, realized while on a research expedition to study the coral reef in Madagascar,that conservation needed new tools and business-based solutions to address the various problems associated with it. He started Blue Ventures (BV) in 2003, as a social organization that worked with the locals and came up with community led marine conservation approaches to save and rebuild the fragile ecosystem. It encouraged communities to take up temporary fishing closures, which increased theircatches andresulted in a doubling of incomes. This approach generated overwhelming interest that served as astimulus for setting up Madagascar’s first locally managed marine area (LMMA). Over the years, BV helped set up more than 65 LMMAs in Madagascar and many more around the world.

Experience and listening to the needs of the communities it servedhelped BV evolve its business model and it constantly came up with transformative approaches to catalyzeand sustain locally led marine initiatives. It recognized that conservation would not be sustainable in the long run if it did not address the pressing issues facing the communities it served. Health, family planning, education, and generating alternate livelihoods were inter-linked with conservation. To address these multi-dimensional issues, BV came up with a unique, innovative, integrated holistic approach based on sound research, factual evidence, partnership, and networking, which would enable it to replicate and scale up.

BV launched an ambitious and innovative projectcalled TahiriHonko, which was the world’s largest mangrove carbon conservation project in south west Madagascar that promoted the sustainable use of 1200 hectares of mangrove forest. The project protected the community from natural calamities, provided alternative livelihoods, and importantly, earned carbon credits and put the local communities on the international forum – which would enable greater representation of poor communities in conservation management. If the project was successful, it would give BV a head start in replicating the model around the world and help thousands of communities along the coasts.But if the project failed, it could undo BV’s efforts and years of hard work. The case exposes the students to the challenges and issue facing a social enterprise in its efforts to build innovative sustainable approaches to make a lasting impact on millions of lives in remote parts of the world.


The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:

  • Understand the need to go beyond conservation to make conservation sustainable.
  • Identify the challenges that arise out of the complex interlinking between conservation and the need for rebuilding communities at the grass roots.
  • Analyze what it takes to build community led innovative and transformative social entrepreneurship models that enable quick scalability .
  • Appreciate the challenges and risks involved in building innovative projects that lay the foundations for coastal communities to participate meaningfully in the blue carbon market and gain an equitable share of the benefits.



Tahiri Honko. Sustainability, Conservation, Blue Carbon, Blue Forest, Social Entrepreneurship, Innovative and Transformative Business Models, Dina, Carbon Sequestration, WASH, Ecotourism, Plan Vivo, Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA), Alasdair Harris, Blue Ventures

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