It was long overdue.
In 1987 the World Commission on Environment and Development developed a definition of sustainability that was subsequently incorporated into the Brundtland report (1987). It stated that: ‘Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’
In other words, Sustainability means understanding the future risks of your company, your workforce and your industry and acting on these risks. The three pillars of a Sustainability Report include:
- Economic sustainability where a company engages in its growth
- Social sustainability that focuses on occupational health and safety, talent acquisition, employee engagement and equal opportunities
- Environmental sustainability relating to environmental regulation compliance, pollution prevention and GHG emissions reduction, protection of the marine environment, fuel and energy efficiency and investment in green technologies.
The IMO has proposed several ambitious targets for shipping countries, starting with the sulfur cap by 2020, the target for 40% improvement in ship efficiency by 2030, and the target for 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.
The unequivocal value of Sustainability in shipping is linked to long-term performance improvements. The following 3 reasons reveal the value of a sustainable shipping industry:
- Navigating the Environmental Regulations
Compliance with environmental regulations and policy measures is key in the maritime industry but what it is often asked form companies is to go above and beyond and engage into crafting regulation that enhances forward-leaning industry structures, accelerates progress and promotes visionary solutions.
- Humanizing the industry by attaining workforce expectations
Staff members is a vital part of a company’s sustainability. Establishing and improving transparency in order to identify, mitigate and prevent human rights risks within the shipping value chain is one of the most effective ways to impact the industry. Effective employee training programs and work-life balance policies sustain long term performance improvements.
- Engage into innovation
Developing new, “green”, alternative and cost-effective strategies and services helps creates synergies, builds trust and improves reputation. Any green initiative to explore sustainability issues surrounding the fuels such as the use of renewable resources for power generation, hybrid and automated vessel designs, and advanced scrubber, propeller, and rudder systems is key to creating a sustainable future in the industry. Making vessels more environment-friendly and sustainable has become a priority. Research and innovation for sustainable shipping finally meet the high standards of sustainability and profitability.
All in all, a Sustainability Report creates the roadmap and leaves the footprint of a forward-thinking company. There is no better way for a company to reflect its core values along with its commitment to innovation, research and development, communicate its social initiatives and its dedication to transparency and performance.