What is the Oceano Azul Foundation?

The Oceano Azul Foundation is a non-profit organization created by the Sociedade Francisco Manuel dos Santos (SFMS). It aims to contribute for the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean, including in its assets the Oceanário de Lisboa and an endowment of 30 million euros over the next 10 years.

What is it for?

The Oceano Azul Foundation was born from the belief that in the present time, going through massive changes, it is urgent to develop new policies that will grant a peaceful and positive coexistence between the human development and the protection of the ocean.
Likewise, the Foundation was born out of a strong drive to reconnect Portugal to the sea and to help the country achieve a leading position in European and global agendas on all issues concerning the ocean – presenting Portugal as a forerunner on ocean sustainability.

Who is behind it?

The Oceano Azul Foundation was created by Soares dos Santos family through the Sociedade Francisco Manuel dos Santos – a business group with established global notoriety in fields such as distribution, industry, agri-food industry, specialized retail, healthcare, citizenship and the environment.
The launch of the Foundation is the final step of a process that began back in 2014, when SFMS brought together an interdisciplinary group of international reference experts in marine affairs, and established in a strategic document the guidelines of the Oceano Azul Foundation.

What is its Mission and Areas of Intervention?

The Oceano Azul Foundation aims at contributing for the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean, as well as bringing awareness to the society and the main entities concerning the issues of the Ocean. The Foundation has three main angles of action:

• Education and Literacy – helping in creating a “Blue Generation” through educational school programs and bringing awareness to the society relating to all the challenges of ocean sustainability.
• Conservation – protecting, valuing and promoting the blue natural capital by supporting Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and the sustainable uses of the ocean.
• Capacitation – Helping in mapping new public policies, regulations, legislations and good practices and the execution of qualifying actions that can contribute towards sustainable ocean exploration.

What is the link between the Oceano Azul Foundation and the Oceanário de Lisboa?

The Oceanário de Lisboa is one of the fundamental assets of the Oceano Azul Foundation in developing the Literacy and Conservation practices. Sociedade Francisco Manuel dos Santos has been managing Oceanário de Lisboa since September 2015, guaranteeing the public service of the Institution and going ever further in enhancing the quality standards of the Oceanário de Lisboa and significantly increasing its Blue Literacy and Conservation activities.
Being that the Oceanário is fully joined in the Oceano Azul Foundation, it can now reinforce the excellence of the present moment into an ambitious project for the future – which is essential to the development of the country and its international exposure.

Social Entities

Board of Trustees
José Soares dos Santos (Chairman)
Jane Lubchenco
Kristian Parker

Special Advisors to the Board of Trustees
Julie Packard
Viriato Soromenho-Marques


Board of Directors
José Soares dos Santos (Chairman)
Tiago Pitta e Cunha (Chairman of the Executive Committee)
Emanuel Gonçalves (Member of the Executive Committee)
João Falcato Pereira (Member of the Executive Committee)
R. Andreas Kraemer

Special Advisors to the Board of Directors
Heather Koldewey
Peter Heffernan

Main Partners

The creation of the Oceano Azul Foundation was supported by a highly-qualified network of individuals and institutions with whom the Foundation will develop programs and activities in the fields of Education and Conservation of the ocean as well as its management; on the promotion of scientific research and concerning a new environmentally friendly ocean economy.
On a national level, we have the support and collaboration of the scientific system dedicated to the sea research; of universities and other institutions that are linked to the ocean thematic.
These are entities such as the BlueBio Alliance, CCMAR, CIIMAR, Cluster Oceano XXI, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Mare, IPL, University of Aveiro, the Universidade Católica Portuguesa as well as the town councils of Cascais, Mafra, Nazaré and Peniche.
On a broader, international level we now have over thirty leaders of renowned institutions that have pledged their support for the Oceano Azul Foundation.

Press Office

Maria João Soares
+351 914 237 487