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Why ESG could be shipping’s route forward

Renowned futurist K D Adamson joined marine lawyers from across Hill Dickinson to explore how ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) will shape maritime business.

Ms Adamson argued that ESG is raising profound questions for shipping that decarbonisation and digitalisation alone will not answer.

“We’re on the brink of a metashift to complex ecosystems, radical transparency and collaborative responsibility,” she said, advising that the challenge for shipping is how to use these to “reframe and reclaim the future”.

Hill Dickinson’s virtual event, which ran two sessions to enable delegates from all different time zones to take part, was held on the opening day of this year’s London International Shipping Week (LISW21).

Taking the theme: The life cycle of a ship: the commercial opportunities of values-based shipping, Hill Dickinson considered the challenges and opportunities against an increasingly changing regulatory landscape, and took a practical look at the key themes of ESG including finance, emissions, technology, people, ship recycling, and what this could mean in terms of growth.  The presentation also reflected contrasting attitudes to ESG in several of the marine industries key hubs and highlighted the commercial potential for marine businesses in taking a holistic approach.

A wide range of specialists from several of Hill Dickinson’s International offices took part, including Diana Syziu, Jasel Chauhan, Colin Lavelle, Ian Teare, Shanna Ghose, Sarah Barnes, Rachel Hoyland, Antony Cowie, Trudie Protopapas, and Beth Bradley.

K D Adamson is a firm believer that the unrelenting focus on technology is a long-running misdirection which is disempowering people and businesses, reducing them to passive, disenfranchised consumers of a technology-defined future at a crucial turning point in history.

In her keynote speech she informed delegates that in 2020 59 zettabytes (1021) of data were created and consumed. However, she pointed out that much of this is not new data but rather data that is being re-analysed. She explained that 70% of company data lies untouched for years and that, in effect, businesses are managing “data cemeteries”.

Describing data as “the new oil”, Ms Adamson commented that knowledge lies in people and their ability to understand this data. Shipping needs to reprioritise its data and choose what is important, she advised, stating that shipping has the potential to lead the way on this new corporate journey.

Beth Bradley, Hill Dickinson Partner, said: “London International Shipping Week is a fantastic opportunity to bring members of the maritime community together to exchange experiences and thoughts for the future. We were pleased to be able to deliver this interesting and informative presentation and very grateful to K D Adamson for her thought-provoking address. ”