Could ESG accountability advance the maritime performance management and address UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? (2018)

by Pavlopoulou, Yanna. 5th GREENCHEM (Green Chemistry, Sustainable Development and Circular economy) Symposium, Skiathos, Greece. Book of Abstracts ISBN: 978-618-5271-61-9, p. 283 / Environmental Legislation and Policy Section.


Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) are accountability metrics of business performance that may assist the shipping sector in tackling long-term operational issues. Financial analysis of ESG benchmarks & scores can improve the institutional investors understanding & decision making on market performance and evaluation of corporate risks. The challenge is how Accountability could enhance marine and global sustainability, by linking maritime eco-efficiency (from the economic and ecologic aspect), Eco-labels, ESG ratings and technology innovation, to the shared benefit of the shipping business and society at large. Since 90% of global trade is carried by sea, the industry could urge regulators to reconsider the impact on rising cost of international transportation and address societal needs, i.e. unemployment, water and waste issues, proposing synergistic worldwide offset investments. The maritime community could better advocate against forthcoming costly legislative measures upon their industry, for the sake of their own sustainability. The issue at stake is how pioneer ship managers can maximize their impact of shared value on their stakeholders, by adopting a morals-driven and business-driven mindset. Given that accountability reporting became mandatory in EU, this study aimed to explore ship managers’ views on accountability, considering the most material ESG opportunities and risks against relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This article is based on an interview-survey to selected executives of top Greek-owned companies. Survey responses are peers’ perceptions rather than metered data over preferred strategic options, critical factors and performance metrics to be used in a Sustainability Report. The outcome is that global shipping could proactively maximize its economic and social impact, by building strategic partnerships on diversified development opportunities; by endorsing innovative solutions, aligned to business objectives, employee empowerment and cultural change; by undertaking collective action against stakeholders’ expectations. In parallel, regulatory efforts should reconsider the cost of enforcement and divert research funds and resources, by using upscaling methods and bottom-up sustainability proposals. The international policy makers should encourage such innovative initiatives, by enhancing dialogue and synergies on SDGs among the maritime industry and their stakeholders.


Maritime Sustainability, Esg Accountability, Shared Value, Sdgs

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