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The BIMCO ESG Network – one year on

Published: 04 June 2024

The BIMCO ESG Network celebrated its 1-year anniversary and its 5th meeting by delving into the commercial benefits of ESG reporting – from compliance (avoiding non-compliance) through to the competitive advantage of demonstrating good environmental and health and safety practices.

We continue to see increasing interest in the BIMCO ESG network now at 70 members – coinciding with the increasing awareness and interest in ESG globally. Our new network members include seafarers, port side representatives and many more.  We are extremely proud of the diversity of the network from the job roles through to the levels of experience covered and will capitalise on this diversity to dive deeper into focussed topics over the coming year with the establishment of a number of smaller breakout groups to take forward topics of interest.  

Now the group is firmly established, we are excited to be seeking a Chair or Co-Chair of the network to drive the direction forward and to ensure that discussions are both member-centric and member-led. We encourage members to step forwards if interested – with no experience necessary and a rewarding role guaranteed. 

The EU perspective and the overarching strategy of the EU when it comes to ESG (which is based primarily on the EU Green Deal and the Climate Ambition) remains at front of centre of the ESG network discussions. Guest speakers at this5th meeting came from consultancy firm Deloitte. They provided the group with a high-level and thought-provoking overview of how everything fits togetherfrom the EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive through to the circular economy action plan. They covered how logistic flows may be likely to change due to increases in re-use and recycling through to how battery technology and electronics use on ships might be affected. Decarbonisation and circularity and how there may be change and shifts in assets and operations were also discussed.

Again, the complexity of the EU regulatory set up was explored. The due diligence directive, in particular, will put the spotlight on human rights and environmental performance upstream and downstream with the potential for fines and director responsibility. This will be important for shipping company clients as this information will likely be needed to be shared and can then become commercially valuable.  The double-materiality concept was also recognised as being highly complex, particularly for shipping where there is both an onshore and at-sea workforce. More generally, all regulatory developments in the EU in the field of ESG are made more challenging by the expected long wait before we see any shipping sector specific guidelines

The speakers went on to explain how both the ESG narrative and compliance are important.  The green claims directive was given as an example where those who “do the right thing” are allowed to carry but also that the bar along with the minimum price point will be raised. Their overarching message?  If you want to continue playing the market, you have to get all these things in order. All the tides will have to rise – particular regarding trade with the EU. 

Also covered was how many businesses have thought of ESG as a standalone topic but how many now think much more holistically from a business perspective – such as running a ship more efficiently. And while ESG seems like it’s something new, it was suggested that it is much more about reporting what is already being done. And some ESG work will be a licence to operate whereas other ESG work is about moving aggressively and becoming more competitive. 

Finally, some of the specific challenges of due diligence were discussed – how will it be possible to measure the impact and the co-operation – particularly on a value chain where there is little sharing of information between companies?

This raises two questions: Firstly, how to get this information and secondly, how to use the information you already have.

Traceability and turning this into a competitive advantage is going to be very difficult – particularly for shipping companies. Until regulations are passed it is going to be very hard to know what the impact will be – and this is sure to be a discussion topic for the ESG Network for the years to come.  

We continue to welcome new members to join the network with future topics will include GHG emissions reporting, seafarer wellbeing, education and training and maritime anti-corruption

The 6th network meeting will take place online on 10 September 2024. Should you be interested joining the network, please reach out to



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Beverley Mackenzie


Dr. Bev Mackenzie

Head of Intergovernmental Engagement

London, United Kingdom