Ryan Paik: Advancing Ocean Sustainability Tech & Climate Action through Blue Carbon

Ryan Paik: Advancing Ocean Sustainability Tech & Climate Action through Blue Carbon

Ryan Paik , CEO

Ryan Paik


It is imperative for leaders and individuals to be mindful of ESG principles and their implications for climate change. Providing high-quality education is crucial for informing the upcoming generation about this urgent issue that significantly affects their future. This isn't solely a concern for our present era but a responsibility in shaping the legacy we bequeath to the succeeding generations. In today’s world, an overwhelming majority of the global population resides in close proximity to coastal regions – over 80 percent of people in the world today, in fact. Paradoxically, many of today’s global initiatives and activities are disproportionately skewed towards non-coastal endeavours. Recent efforts to, comprehensively map the ocean have revealed the extensive nature of this modern-day issue. The rapid rise in global population and population density in coastal areas, which consequently intensifies coastal development in most parts of the world, has imposed a considerable burden on our invaluable marine resources. One of its most alarming repercussions is the rapid decline in fisheries and marine life on a global scale. In response to the pressing issues of cleaner waters, reduced marine pollution, and thoughtful marine ecosystem care, a call to action is essential. Moving forward, advanced sustainability solutions and public-private partnerships are key to a promising and sustainable future.

HAEJOO is one such company: it has a decades-long history of being firmly committed to providing holistic solutions for the successful implementation of sustainable artificial reef initiatives all around the world. Their approach is built on a foundation of mutual collaboration with a wide spectrum of stakeholders, including governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and corporations to provide tangible and meaningful sustainability solutions. Its overarching goal is to attain the highest standards in environmental sustainability and quality at every stage of its design and implementation processes. At the helm of HAEJOO is Ryan Paik, its CEO whose leadership has been pivotal in driving the organization’s forward-thinking initiatives and partnerships. In an exclusive interview, he shared deep insights into his early life, the vision of his company and his vision for both the organization and the wider industry.

How would you characterize HAEJOO and its current standing in the market? Additionally, what drives and motivates you in your daily activities?

I currently lead a family-owned company called the HAEJOO which originated in South Korea. Our focus is on improving our planet, particularly our oceans by providing various sustainability solutions to both governments and non-government entities around the world. As we all appreciate, oceans are crucial in providing not just livelihood and food sources to billions around the world, but also act as carbon sinks for our planet. Sadly, they are under immense pressure from climate change, pollution and over-development. Our business aims to provide solutions to these critical modern-day issues by creating essential habitats for marine life via the design, fabrication, deployment and post-deployment monitoring of bespoke artificial reef structures. Personally, I grew up close to nature and the ocean in New Zealand, and during my early years, I developed a strong passion for the oceans and our environment in general. I find purpose in the idea that we can make a difference for future generations in terms of food security and combating climate change, an approach often referred to as the ‘Blue Economy’. I'm currently based in Oman, a GCC country where fishing plays a vital role in supporting the livelihood and economy of its people. We are currently focused on various projects in Oman with specific emphasis on sustainable fishing practices to ensure a more balanced marine ecosystem for the country. Our vision is to transform marine deserts into thriving habitats, supporting both the wider environment and local communities. Lately, I established HAEJOOX, a new venture focused on offering voluntary carbon offset initiatives and addressing climate change issues, particularly in the domain of blue carbon.

Ryan Paik ,CEODescribe your approach to leadership. What principles or strategies guide your actions and decisions as a leader?

I strongly advocate for being purpose-driven in personal and professional pursuits. This involves clear short-term objectives and long-term goals supporting an inspiring vision, forming the backbone of effective leadership. My motivation in this industry stems from the meaningful impact our projects can have on local communities. While some prioritize financial returns, we focus on initiatives aligned with our company's vision and purpose, bringing tangible benefits to the environment and communities. This dedication to impactful projects keeps my perspective positive, vibrant, and purpose-driven, guiding every action as a leader.

Could you elaborate on the key projects you've led so far? How did you surmount the challenges encountered, and what insights did you gain from these experiences?

Navigating diverse cultures has been a profoundly fascinating challenge within my professional journey. Oceanic energy, marine biodiversity, coastal fortification and climate equilibrium collectively constitute pivotal pillars of global sustainability. Oceanic energy sources proffer an invaluable renewable recourse to satiate our energy requisites, and the vitality of marine ecosystems profoundly influences fisheries and the well-being of coastal communities. Coastal safeguarding is contingent upon the conservation of these marine habitats, which serve as intrinsic bastions against sea-level escalation and tempestuous climatic events. Furthermore, oceans' function as carbon repositories and climate modulators underscores their quintessential role in upholding environmental and meteorological steadiness. These intricately linked components accentuate the imperativeness of concerted endeavours to shield our oceans, thereby assuring not only ecological vitality but also a stable and flourishing future for our planet.

Transitioning between regions like the Middle East, Australia, and Korea, where HAEJOO has completed successful artificial reef projects, poses unique challenges. Understanding diverse cultures and their specific needs is crucial at HAEJOO. Solutions effective in one market may not fit another, technically or culturally. Nevertheless, our united team shares a common goal: environmental preservation and a commitment to a better world for the next generation.

Leaders & individuals should prioritize mindfulness, instilled through quality education, to foster environmental awareness in the next generation

Could you tell me about the sustainable practices that HAEJOO has adopted in its operations and the company’s visions towards a sustainable future?

Artificial reefs designed with a specific purpose are acknowledged as a promising strategy with significant positive outcomes in tackling climate change. These specially crafted underwater structures provide several benefits, such as mitigating the impacts of rising ocean temperatures and ocean acidification. By acting as homes for marine organisms, artificial reefs support the conservation of biodiversity and strengthen the resilience of ecosystems. Additionally, they play a crucial role in carbon sequestration by promoting the growth of marine vegetation and boosting overall marine productivity. As a result, artificial reefs play a crucial role in combating climate change and promoting the well-being and longevity of our oceans, and we are actively implementing this for a sustainable future.

What is the ultimate trajectory guiding your journey toward the future?

I believe in being driven by a clear purpose and having both short-term and long-term goals, supported by a clear vision. Personally, the positive impact of our projects and initiatives on the wider environment is what truly motivates me. While some companies may diversify into more financially lucrative projects, our focus remains on environmental and community-driven endeavours. Maintaining a positive mindset and aligning our team with the vision of our company is also crucial for me. In the next five years, we aim to expand our projects across the wider Middle East and ultimately extend our support to developing countries. Our new venture, HAEJOOX involves producing blue carbon credits associated with our artificial reef project, a concept that allows us to go beyond the immediate impacts of the localized projects by sequestering or removing carbon via oceanic initiatives.

Considering your substantial industry expertise, what counsel would you offer aspiring leaders in the field?

Leaders, in any field, face a crucial juncture with the scientific consensus warning of calamity if global temperatures rise by 1.5 degrees or more. Whether in government or private enterprise, a sharp focus on sustainability is vital, with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles integrated into every activity. Developed nations like Australia and the United States mandate carbon-emission calculations and demand comprehensive net-zero plans. Waiting until 2030 is not an option; it's a pressing issue today.


Ryan Paik has demonstrated outstanding leadership in environmental services, particularly focusing on the restoration of marine biodiversity through the deployment of artificial reef structures around the world, often described as being akin to planting trees underwater. He places significant emphasis on enhancing marine diversity and preserving equilibrium within the aquatic ecosystem.

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