March 8th: Empowering Diversity and Inclusion in Shipping Through ESG Principles

March 8th marks International Women’s Day, a day celebrated worldwide to recognize the achievements and contributions of women while advocating for gender equality. In the maritime industry, the pursuit of diversity and inclusion has become increasingly vital, reflecting not only ethical imperatives but also strategic business advantages. Embracing Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles offers a framework for fostering diversity and inclusion within the shipping sector.

ESG and Diversity in Shipping: Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria have emerged as key metrics for evaluating a company’s sustainability and societal impact. While ESG is often associated with environmental sustainability, its “Social” pillar encompasses issues such as diversity, equity, and inclusion. In shipping, diversity goes beyond gender parity to encompass representation across various demographics, including race, ethnicity, age, and socioeconomic background.

Advancing Diversity Through ESG:

  1. Gender Equality Initiatives: International Women’s Day serves as a poignant reminder of the maritime industry’s gender disparity. By integrating gender equality initiatives into their ESG strategies, shipping companies can promote equal opportunities for women in maritime careers. This includes initiatives to attract, retain, and advance women in traditionally male-dominated roles, as well as fostering a supportive work culture free from gender bias.
  2. Cultural Diversity and Inclusion: Embracing diversity enriches organizational culture and fosters innovation within shipping companies. ESG frameworks encourage companies to create inclusive workplaces where employees from diverse backgrounds feel valued and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives. This involves implementing policies and programs that promote cultural awareness, respect, and collaboration among employees from different cultural backgrounds.
  3. Equity in Leadership and Decision-Making: Achieving diversity in shipping extends to leadership positions and decision-making processes. ESG-minded companies prioritize equitable representation in leadership roles, ensuring that diverse voices are heard at all levels of the organization. By fostering inclusive leadership, shipping companies can leverage a broader range of perspectives to drive innovation, problem-solving, and sustainable business practices.
  4. Supply Chain Diversity: Diversity and inclusion efforts in shipping extend beyond internal operations to encompass the broader supply chain. ESG-driven companies prioritize working with diverse suppliers and partners, including minority-owned businesses and enterprises that promote social equity. By diversifying their supplier base, shipping companies not only enhance their resilience but also contribute to economic empowerment and community development.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th, let us reaffirm our commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion in the maritime industry. By integrating ESG principles into their business strategies, shipping companies can drive positive change, foster a culture of equality and respect, and create a more sustainable and inclusive future for all stakeholders. Together, let us harness the power of diversity to propel the shipping industry towards greater innovation, resilience, and social impact.

Executive Course for Women Leadership in Maritime

The course is about Women and Leadership in the Maritime industry, but it is by no means a ‘women only’ course; in fact, we would actively encourage all genders to engage with the course, as Women in the work place is a key business issue (and as you will learn, a key determinate of success), not just a ‘Women’s’ issue.

You will learn about the business case for widening the workforce to encourage a diverse and inclusive environment and the benefits this brings – based on vigorous research and contemporary data.  Also covered is the building blocks of leadership essentials, including the importance of development, together with understanding the barriers, bias and difficulties Women face in the work place and more importantly – strategies to overcome them.

World Maritime Academy developed the free online course Advance Certificate in Maritime Business, in short MAR-EVA (i) to empower disadvantaged women, and (ii) to contribute to shipping sustainability.