Effective CSR policies to boost maritime industry

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Photo - Chennai Port Trust (1)

(L-R) Hary Harinder of Green Award, Jan Fransen, its Executive Director, and Atulya Misra, Chairman of Chennai Port Trust

Contributed by: J A A J (Jan) Fransen, Executive Director, Green Award Foundation

It is widely believed that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is much needed in the corporate world. The complex yet large scale impact of ports and maritime industry is yet to widely participate and promote CSR in its mandate to go beyond the business agenda. The time has come to imbibe CSR principles as ‘business as usual’. Even as some initiatives make their contribution to the society, there are miles to go for the maritime industry to strengthen its CSR and make a difference.

CSR in Maritime

The Hong Kong Convention on ship recycling, type and quality of fuel used for propulsion, innovations on energy conservation, labour employed on board ships, cargo operations and navigational routes are just a few examples to be considered when developing CSR policies in shipping sector.

Some are in line with international regulations, although not at a desirable pace. Therefore, from an ethical point of view, shipping companies, shippers and charterers could decide to go the extra mile in early implementation of upcoming regulations or to maintain high-standard policies on issues that are not regulated.

On the other hand, for ports, the implementation of CSR policies becomes more complex, since they deal with both the “wet” and “dry” sides of the industry, along with their direct relationship to society. It is a real “juggling” act, concerning the demands from the local industries, society and shipping companies, with the ports sitting right in the centre of the maritime supply chain. For this reason, the impact the ports can make on the social aspects of the maritime industry is immense, regardless of the complexity of their implementation.

Green Award as a CSR Platform

There are various ways to promote the best practices: providing guidelines and recommendations, promoting newest technology, regulating air emissions, educating and training for awareness, etc. The certification / incentive scheme of Green Award Foundation is one of the tools to motivate the shipping industry to go the extra mile in addressing the aforementioned topics in a holistic manner.

One of the main objectives of Green Award is creating a network of incentive providers (ports and non-ports), who reward the ships certified by the Foundation either financially or operationally. From ports, pilot organisations, ship routing companies, training organisations, manufacturers, to banks; there are diverse forms of organisations granting incentives. These organisations altogether support the shipping industry to remain sustainable, in terms of hardware quality, safe operations and protection of environment. These, in return, act as risk reduction factors in the port area and the ports’ contribution to true CSR policies on a global scale.

Green Award has been continuously developed by partners in the maritime industry, with over 125 entities involved in the Green Award programme and 750 ships certified.

The 39 port incentive providers represent 12 different countries around the world. The Netherlands being the initiator and early adopters, the latest additions are Hamburg Port Authority from Germany and Port of Kitakyushu from Japan, the first port in Far East Asia.

Contribution from India

India, as a growing economy, growing maritime nation, and having large number of ports and seafarers, it is most natural for Indian stakeholders to work together with Green Award to share, contribute and influence the shipping / maritime industry and its future. KARCO from Mumbai, a company developing comprehensive safety videos for ships, became the first Indian company to partner with Green Award.

In early 2015, a delegation from the Netherlands visited India. The visitors included Joint Secretary of Ministry of Shipping, Gujarat Maritime Board, Central Pollution Control Board, DG Shipping, Chennai Port Trust, Adani Ports, Essar Ports, and L&T Kattupalli Port. Based on the solid talks the delegates had with these heart-warm welcoming organisations, Green Award would like to continue talks with various stakeholders in India.

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