Lloyd’s List, Article by Nigel Lowry

May 24, 2024
FROM LEFT: ORGANISER HELENA ATHOUSSAKI, EMANUELE GRIMALDI, JAN FRANSEN AND EVENT CO-PRINCIPAL ORGANISER KATERINA STATHOPOULOU.
 
SHIPPING is “heading in the right direction” in respect to environmental, social and governance, known as ESG, and should make greater efforts to broadcast its progress, according to International Chamber of Shipping chairman and Grimaldi Group managing director Emanuele Grimaldi.
“Even in the absence of a formal ESG strategy, many shipping companies are already working towards fulfilling a number of ESG factors,” Grimaldi told an industry gathering in Athens
“Promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, practicing sustainable ship recycling, working towards decreasing greenhouse gas emissions are just a few examples of the good work I am seeing.”
Grimaldi, who was speaking at the ESG Shipping Awards in Athens, where he received an honorary recognition award from the organizers, said that ESG factors were “rightfully” becoming increasingly important in shipping.
“We do take commitments to environment, social and governance seriously and work is taking place to build on this,” he said.
“We should be more vocal about what we are already doing… We need to be louder about the hard work already under way.”
According to the organizers, the event captured progress that the industry has made with regard to ESG issues, even over the past 12 months since the inaugural ESG Shipping Awards.
“This year, applications were more advanced,” said Helena Athoussaki, a longstanding expert in shipping industry sustainability who is one of two principal organizers of the event.
“We are providing a platform for companies to engage with best practices and the awards gives them an additional incentive,” she said. “We can see the improvement over the last year.
“More companies now have dedicated people and in some cases committees to oversee ESG initiatives, targets and performance, which is very important. A big change has been the involvement of senior management in ESG.
“There were a lot of improvements but a lot of room for improvement in companies’ ESG profile as well,” Athoussaki said.
“Companies also need to have a strong ESG report and they need to understand the level of competition now.
“The best practices were very competitive, particularly on the climate change side and environmental side.”
It was a good night for Greece-based companies, led by the Palios shipping family and Navios Maritime Partners, as well as for the cruise industry.
With gold, silver and bronze awards handed out in a total of 10 categories, Norwegian Cruise Line won gold in the overall ESG Leader Award category, followed by Pacific Basin Shipping and Safe Bulkers.
While Greece-based owners did not fit into the frame for the climactic ESG Leader Award, they won gold in another five categories.
Navios Maritime Partners won gold for governance, as well as silver in the ‘People Leader Award’, behind the Tsakos Group and ahead of bronze award-winner Seanergy Maritime in the same category.
“Greek companies are very people-focused and you can see they were very good on the people side,” Athoussaki said.
Latsco Shipping won gold for community contribution, Semiramis Palios-led Diana Shipping shared gold along with Berge Bulk in the ‘Environment Leader Award’.
Performance Shipping, the listed tanker company chaired by sibling Aliki Paliou, picked up bronze in the governance category.
Meanwhile, Palios family management outfit Diana Shipping Services won gold in the ‘Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Leader Award’.
Athoussaki said that the DEI category marked one of the biggest improvements across the ESG spectrum.
Last year, the same award was not presented owing to the lack of convincing candidates.
This year, among the advertised awards only a circular economy award was withheld because of a poor response.
Carnival Corporation was another representative of the cruise sector that figured prominently in the proceedings, winning gold in the ‘Climate Change Award’ and bronze in the Environment Leader category.
Hong Kong-based Fleet Management won gold in the social category, ahead of two Greek companies Chandris Hellas and Stem Shipping.
Other gold award winners were Euronav in the supply chain category and Aida Cruises for technology.
“Many companies emphasized that they are not only complying with regulations but going beyond and doing more than the regulations ask of them,” Athoussaki said.
In addition to the awards decided by a panel of judges chaired by Green Award executive director Jan Fransen, and the honorary recognition for Grimaldi, two special awards were presented at the event.
An award for private philanthropy was presented to shipowner brothers Panagiotis and George Angelopoulos for their long record of support for various causes and community needs.
“The shipping industry gives a lot but not necessarily through companies and it is only fair to recognize the individuals in the industry who are doing this,” commented Athoussaki.
Another special award, the ‘Motivation Award’, recognized the recently-established Lloyd’s Register Maritime Emissions Reduction Centre in Athens and founder members LR, Capital Group, Navios, Neda MaritimeStar Bulk and Thenamaris.
The awards have been established in partnership with Greece’s ministry of Shipping and Island Policy and the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping.

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