As the maritime industry barrels along the pathway of sustainability, I thought it would be helpful to develop a mnemonic device to support our collective efforts for ESG. You are probably aware that a mnemonic (the first “m” is not pronounced) device, or memory device, is any learning technique that aids information retention or retrieval (remembering) in the human memory. While it would be difficult, or impossible, to not retain the impact of sustainability in our world, I’ve developed a help for us as we navigate its waters: The 3 D’s—Decarbonization (Environment), Diversity (Social) and Disclosure (Governance) – with Digitalization woven throughout.
Decarbonization—our industry is consumed by uncovering the best strategies for lessening shipping’s impact on the environment. Approaches range from redeploying old technology (wind power), to trying to maximize the energy value from our current sources (fuel additives and increased engine efficiency), to the development of new technologies (hydrogen fuel cells) or the redesign and application of existing ones (methanol or nuclear). We are certainly busy!!!
Diversity—while we have made strides, we are still not a diverse industry. There needs to be more encouragement of women joining the industry, as well as persons of color. Additionally, while some of the social issues are apparent (race and gender), there are many other social issues that require more work—such as emotional well-being. Gone are the days when maintaining a “stiff upper lip” is considered a healthy response to a stressful situation. What is of importance and support is a mariner’s ability to connect, which is improving (thank you for the satellites, Elon Musk!)
Disclosure— with the proliferation of the internet and social media comes the requirement, nay demand, for transparency. This aligns with the expectations and responsibilities of companies to recognize, and respect, each of its stakeholders.
I hope you get an “A” for your command of the “D’s”!!!!