All of us know the value proposition of the shipping industry: shipping delivers more than 90% of the world’s goods and energy and is quite literally the ENGINE of global trade. Many of the companies involved in our industry are publicly held entities who are responsible for delivering value to shareholders (the prevailing corporate theme for the last three decades). Other companies are privately held, but still expected to perform at a profit to be distributed to its owners.
Last month in the US, at a meeting of the Business Roundtable, 181 CEOs of major corporations signed a new “Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation” committing to leading their companies to benefit ALL stakeholders- customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders. While most of these companies are consumer-facing entities, it represents a shift in how decisions will be made to make companies more PURPOSE driven.
In shipping, we know our purpose is to deliver goods, energy and people safely, efficiently, cost effectively, with minimal impact on the environment. Many of our companies do that extremely well. Those that don’t, however, will be facing increased scrutiny by societal interests who have a voice—and have learned how to use it.
As an industry, we have the opportunity to demonstrate our value to society, and the efforts we are making to honor expectations that we will do this responsibly. An upcoming test is how effectively we execute the IMO2020 change on January 1, 2020. While there will be some initial hiccups surrounding operational issues, our industry is expected to demonstrate compliance with the reduced .5% Sulphur regulation in good order. A failure to deliver on this will result in a loss of public trust and, possibly, a loss of our self determination for future goals, such as decarbonization.
Staya Nadella, chief executive of Microsoft, says that “A sense of purpose—together with a mission that is aligned with what the world needs—is a powerful way for our company to earn public trust. And because public trust matters, this puts purpose at the core of Microsoft’s business model.”
We are at “Maritime’s Monolith Moment” of change. Let’s prove the public’s faith in us is well deserved!!
PS Don’t forget to watch 2001: A Space Odyssey before you come to SHIPPINGInsight. It is out of this world!