3 hands holding up puzzle pieces for ESG over a green background

BIMCO kicks off ESG network for members

Published: 03 May 2023

On 2 May, we kicked off the latest in a series of membership networks, the Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) network, with the aim to bring together all stakeholders across the membership who want to both share and acquire knowledge on best ESG practices as the topic gains momentum amongst the global shipping community and wider.

The launch of the BIMCO ESG network highlighted the need for knowledge sharing and acquisition as well as developing best practices for the shipping industry.

Perhaps most striking was the diversity across the network, which held its first meeting on 2 May. There was diversity in the types of BIMCO members involved – from ship owners and managers to ports and P&I clubs – from large to small as well as a diversity of job roles of the individuals present. This diversity will be a significant strength to the network going forwards where a key theme was the need to embrace knowledge sharing and best practice as the shipping sector seeks to understand ESG better as well as creating a voice in the space for the shipping industry.

The range of different perspectives and experience was also apparent when the discussion turned to ESG strategies and reporting- one of the main topics that will be explored further as the network matures Discussions covered how a client base can influence reporting, the importance of inclusion of those in the entire value chain and wider stakeholders as well as the different challenges faced by different ship types and operating profiles. The need to establish some clear benchmarking, reporting processes and guidelines that are specifically adapted to the complexities of the business of shipping was also a topic of discussion. With this in mind a future topic for the group will be the upcoming EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive.

Another topic covered was the need for data validation and authentication and the subsequent auditing of reports. How do ESG report avoid claims of greenwashing/social washing – and can ESG reports be used to demonstrate where shipping not just meets compliance requirements but goes above and beyond and also demonstrate the value of performance management? How does ESG reporting move from a marketing exercise to one that captures good practice across the business?

As well as the high-level discussions, some specific ESG topics were raised that will be explored further by the network as it evolves. These included:

  • The need for ESG dedicated persons- either onboard or ashore
  • Integrating crew welfare and health
  • The broader role of international initiatives such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGS) and the new “ocean treaty”
  • Carbon, carbon, carbon! – and how to ensure other elements are not forgotten about under the “E” of ESG
  • Training needs- both for raising awareness of ESG in general but also related to future challenges such as alternative fuels
  • Quality of education and economic growth
  • Equity – particularly addressing gender diversity and the geographic diversity of crew
  • Data management and governance
  • Raising awareness of ESG as a concept and what it means for shipping.

Hosted by BIMCO’s Dr Bev Mackenzie, Head of Intergovernmental Engagement and Henriette Dybkær, Head of Membership Engagement, over 37 members from 25 companies dialling in all the way from the US to Australia for this first meeting which was designed build the network and to uncover the participants current ESG priorities as well as determining future topics of discussion.

The BIMCO ESG Network will meet four times a year and the next meeting will be held in June 2023. A quick poll at the end of the meeting suggested that priority topics for future meetings will include:

  • Determining the main ESG priorities for shipping
  • The importance and relevance of the EU CSR Directive
  • Sharing best practices in ESG reporting.

The network is the latest initiative by BIMCO to engage with members to share knowledge and insight, as we scale up our direct membership engagement. If you are a BIMCO member, please contact Henriette Dybkær using the link on this page. If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact membership@bimco.org.

Henriette Dybkær


Henriette Dybkær

Membership Engagement

Copenhagen, Denmark