Concordia Maritime chief executive Kim Ullman considers what environmental, social and governance (ESG) means to a tanker industry that has already made great strides forward in safety quality levels
Maritime executives directing ESG initiatives recognise their access to cargo, capital and ports is at risk if they cannot meet the standards expected by regulators, the market and the public.
The problem is, that unlike OPA 90 and double hulls, or the imposition of low sulphur fuel or scrubbers through IMO’s 2020 fuel oil transition, there is no clear standard on what ESG is for the tanker industry. Looking at ESG logically, the first question is: does the tanker industry need another pressure point like ESG?
“The quality of tanker operations has improved tremendously in the last 20 years. The industry has done a great job of increasing safety and quality levels,” said Mr Ullman.
“Running high-quality ships embraces environmental aspects and we need to be more transparent as an industry,” he said. The tanker industry needs to decide what ESG means to it in terms of standards and achievements. “This has to be through the proper forums such as INTERTANKO and BIMCO,” said Mr Ullman.
He noted that industry stakeholders need to consult each other on ESG and show uniformity and agreement on what it means. Otherwise, external political forces will seek to gain kudos by potentially ill-founded standards and regulations in the name of ESG.
“It (ESG) must not just come from somebody’s hip,” said Mr Ullman, referencing politicians as cowboys riding into town and imposing control with a gun.