Sustainability in Shipping by 2030: Challenges & Actions

As we navigate the 21st century the need for sustainable development in every sector has become increasingly apparent. The shipping industry, which contributes significantly to global trade and economic growth, is no exception. With the 2030 target now very fast approaching, it is crucial to explore what sustainability might look like in this sector and identify the necessary steps to achieve it. This essay discusses the most important challenges faced by our industry in pursuing sustainability and outlines concrete actions that stakeholders need to take.

Sustainability in the shipping industry by 2030
By 2030 a sustainable shipping industry should demonstrate a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, improved energy efficiency and a responsible approach to waste management. These goals can be achieved through the adoption of alternative energy sources, technological advancement and commitment to sustainable practices. But the industry must also address the well-being of seafarers and ensure that their rights are protected.

Challenges and issues in achieving human sustainability
One of the wider industry’s most pressing concerns is the welfare of seafarers. Long working hours, inadequate rest periods and limited access to communication with their families all contribute to physical and also mental stress. Some seafarers even face exploitation and abuse, with insufficient legal protection and support. The industry as a whole must prioritise the well-being of its workforce and create a safe, healthy and supportive working environment.

Concrete actions for maritime industry stakeholders
These are:

Implementing and enforcing global labour standards
Governments and regulatory bodies must collaborate to develop and enforce international labour standards that protect seafarers’ rights. The International Maritime Organization and the International Labour Organization should work together to strengthen existing regulations, such as the Maritime Labour Convention, and ensure their effective implementation.

Promoting seafarer well-being through corporate social responsibility
Shipping companies should integrate seafarer welfare into their CSR strategies. By providing access to mental health support, regular communication with families and better recreational facilities on board, companies can demonstrate their commitment to what is needed.

Enhancing training and education
Investment in training and education for seafarers is crucial for improving their skills, knowledge and overall well-being. Maritime academies and shipping companies should collaborate in order to develop comprehensive training programs that address the industry’s current and future needs, including sustainable practices and technological advancements.

Developing transparent reporting mechanisms
These must be established to ensure that shipping companies are accountable for their actions. Industry stakeholders, including governments, regulatory bodies and NGOs, should create platforms for whistleblowers to report violations and ensure that appropriate action is taken against those who fail to comply with labour standards.

Encouraging collaboration and partnerships
Cooperation is essential. Governments, shipping companies, labour unions and NGOs should collaborate to develop and implement sustainable policies and initiatives. By working together, these stakeholders can make a collective effort to improve the lives of seafarers and create a more sustainable shipping industry.

Promoting diversity and inclusion
A diverse and inclusive workforce is vital for the shipping industry’s long-term sustainability. By implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives, the sector can attract a broader range of talent and foster innovation. This requires addressing gender imbalance, removing barriers to entry and creating an inclusive environment.

Achieving sustainability in the shipping industry by 2030 requires a holistic approach, addressing not only environmental concerns but also the well-being of the workforce. By implementing and enforcing global labour standards, promoting seafarer welfare through CSR, enhancing training and education, developing transparent reporting mechanisms and encouraging collaboration among stakeholders, the maritime industry can successfully navigate towards a sustainable future.

The welfare of seafarers is a cornerstone of human sustainability, and industry stakeholders must take the above concrete actions to ensure that seafarer rights and well-being are protected.

Yury D. Khadarin – “HENNING MAERSK”