The interview conducted by Patricia Cressot – Sowl Initiative, gives us the opportunity to get to know Rachid Benchaouir, founder of CORALIOTECH Monaco and to highlight the crucial role of corals for our ecosystem.

Researcher in human genetics, Rachid Benchaouir joined the team of the Scientific Center of Monaco (CSM) in order to collaborate on basic research on the production of marine molecules at important scales.

A challenge that allowed Rachid Benchaouir to discover innovative properties of this first coral molecule that can be valued for human health,especially for its skin protection properties, against ultraviolet or pollutants, for example.

From this discovery was born the idea of creating a commercial company to enhance the coral molecules discovered by the CSM. The startup CORALIOTECH was incubated within MonacoTech in 2017, a real springboard for the structuring of the company and the acceleration of the development of its business.

CORALIOTECH based on the values ​​of the protection of the marine environment, ensures that commercial activity is not done in any way to the detriment of the degradation of the oceans. On the contrary, company uses technology to avoid interaction with natural ecosystems. Thus, the raw materials come from coral artificially grown in aquariums. The CSM is one of the few centers in the world capable of cultivating a variety of corals in a completely artificial way.

For its research and development of products for pharmaceutical companies, CORALIOTECH uses cutting of these organisms to extract the molecules that constitute the genetic information of coral, while preserving natural environments.

The role of the CSM goes beyond scientific research; its aim is also to ensure – in the event of the definitive disappearance of certain corals – the preservation of a human heritage database. CORALIOTECH goal is to prepare communication campaigns, cutting and repopulating devastated corals.

Rich in fish, algae, crustaceans and microbiota, coral represents the home to microorganisms with which it lives in perfect symbiosis, and whose regulation depends on climatic conditions, that do not withstand global warming. Global warmingcauses corals to expel symbiotic algae that give them their colour and nutrients.

The disappearance of these corals, will impact 25% of the marine life of our planet and this degradation of ecosystems will be at the root of the scarcity of biomass, thus of fishing, and more broadly, of population migration, the major economic consequences of which will have to be paid at the global level.

A recent study using an innovative analytical method created in partnership with WWF, Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) and the Natural Capital Project quantifies the benefits that nature offers to all nations and industries through six “ecosystem services” – such as crop pollination, coastal protection from flooding and erosion, water supply, wood production, fishing and carbon storage.

The model then assesses how these capital elements (forests, wetlands, coral reefs and fish stocks) would change under various future development scenarios, and how consequential changes in the supply of ecosystem services would affect economic outcomes (including GDP, trade , production and commodity prices).

The results show that in a “Business-as-Usual” (BAU) scenario, the provision of these six ecosystem services alone would result in a decline of 0.67 annual global GDP by 2020. This would equate to an annual loss of US$479 billion. Between 2011 and 2050, the total cumulative loss would be US$9.87 trillion (discount rate of 3).

According to Rachid Benchaouir, it is time for “finance to reorient its projects towards sustainability and act for the preservation of heritage”, and to remember that the human species is linked to the earth and to this reality.

Article written by Joana Foglia based on the interview with Patricia Cressot and Rachid Benchaouir. Click here to see the interview