In our special column this month, we are pleased to host an interview with Mr. Matthew Stephenson, Senior Manager Investor Relations and ESG, Port of Newcastle, who is excited to work on topics related to ESG and maritime decarbonization.
SAFETY4SEA: How did it come about that you joined shipping industry and your field of expertise specifically?
Matthew Stephenson: I returned to study a BA in Business when I was 25. It was during this time I was exposed to a sus-tainability module and so my journey began. I later undertook an MSc in Sustainability and have spent the past 12 years working as a Sustainability/Environment manager in construction across the UK and Australia. It wasn’t until I moved to Newcastle, Australia that I regularly saw a port in action. Driving past and under the gargantuan coal loaders at the Port of Newcastle got me thinking about what the future for the Port looked like and how my set of skills and experience could help as the world transitions to a net zero economy. When I was called about a role, I jumped at the chance to be a part of the Port of Newcastle’s diversification journey.
S4S: What about your current job/ role most excites you and why?
M.St.: I am currently the Senior Manager ESG & Investor Relations at the Port of Newcastle. The best thing about this role is that it allows me to work across the entire business, looking at ways to decarbonize and maximize our ESG performance.
S4S: When you think of the word successful who’s the first person who comes to mind and why?
M.St.: My Grandfather, Born in Burma, a refugee in his earlier life climbed the ranks and eventually be-came a captain in the merchant navy.
S4S: Who is/was the most influential person/mentor to you & why?
M.St.: Helen Bullock, Head Tutor at York College. Prior to the course I was not very academic and she taught me how to think critically and write academically.
S4S: What is the best and what was the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given and why?
M.St.: Best piece, “Do what you know”, a former colleague advised me when I was looking at starting a business completely unrelated to any experience or skill set I had. I have not received any bad ad-vice to date, that I remember.
S4S: What is the most worthwhile career investment (in energy, time, money) you’ve ever made?
M.St.: My education, specifically my MSc.
S4S: If you could give a piece of advice to your 18-year-old-self one thing, what would it be and why? What piece of advice should you ignore?
M.St.: Follow your dream and do a snowboard season in the French alps, because it’s the only thing I have regretted not doing.
S4S: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your busi-ness life?
M.St.: Turning my email notification off, no pop ups, alerts… I only look at my inbox when I want.
S4S: What would you like to change in the current maritime landscape and your area of exper-tise specifically and why?
M.St.: I would make the vessel arrival system, like the one at the Port of Newcastle implements, mandatory across the globe. AMSA found that there was a 18% reduction In GHG between pre and post VTAS implementation.
S4S: What is your personal motto?
M.St.: A borrowed motto, if you do what you have always done, you’ll get what you have always got.
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.
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