Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sustainable Shipping is the Target of New Report

A Changing World Brings New Responsibilities
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – With environmental concerns now firmly established as the top item on the agenda of many involved in the world of logistics, this week sees a new report from the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI), a pioneering coalition of companies from across the global shipping industry focused on uniting commercial growth with sustainable behaviours. SSI certainly has the credentials which demand a hearing with a list of members including Maersk Line, Lloyds Register, Wärtsilä, the American Bureau of Shipping and many others.

The report, ‘Signals of Change’, explores the potential impact of emerging technology, policy and behaviours on the future of sustainable shipping and was developed in partnership with Forum for the Future through its Futures Centre digital platform, as part of an ongoing initiative to collectively track innovations and respond to signals of change in the shipping industry.

Among the 15 developments highlighted in the report, three unifying themes emerged from the analysis, which could evolve to have a significant impact on shipping. These are: managing the demands and dynamics of ocean governance; the changing requirements of shipping industry leaders and the re-shaping of supply chains due to manufacturing developments.

The SSI is aware that changing technologies will vary the demands on sector leaders, both at sea and onshore, with increased responsibilities in terms of demonstrating transparency and accountability for both company and personal actions. The report also highlights the wide-reaching impact of human activity in the marine ecosystem, particularly within the current context of emerging issues such as vessel quieting and underwater noise regulation as well as growing scrutiny of geoengineering as ocean acidification rates rise to unprecedented levels.

Seabed mining could also become a major game-changer: despite polarised views on its feasibility as a sustainable source of natural resources, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) has granted 19 exploration licences to date, and the first commercial deep-sea mining project, by Nautilus Minerals in Papua New Guinea, is expected to start operations within the next five years. Such initiatives are likely to drive further debate around the ownership rights and regulatory developments of the oceans. Additionally evolving manufacturing methods and the introduction of innovations such as nanomaterials will challenge existing practices. Alastair Fischbacher, Chief Executive, the Sustainable Shipping Initiative, commented:

“We live in a world of increasing dynamism and volatility, where drivers such as climate change, growing demand for limited resources and increasing hyper-connectivity will have major effects on business. The industry will be better placed to adapt and seize opportunities if it identifies and understands these signs early on.

“We will continue to monitor how these signals of change take shape within their different contexts as well looking into what other signs are on the horizon. As part of our work in this area we are also looking forward to sharing further insights with the Futures Centre in April on the social, economic and environmental challenges we are tackling as we progress towards our vision for a truly sustainable industry by 2040.

“Ultimately, the environment is constantly evolving and the SSI is passionate about helping the shipping industry to proactively prepare, adapt and embrace opportunities that emerge so that it thrives sustainably in the face of change.”