Mrs. Johannah Christensen, the newly- appointed CEO at Global Maritime Forum, reveals the key topics recently discussed at GMF’s Annual Forum in London, highlighting that decarbonization by 2050 remains the big challenge while the maritime industry has also shed its attention to ESG issues.
rs Christensen highlights the power of discussion and collaboration, explaining that GMF, in essence, provides a platform for constructive feedback among industry leaders, governments and regulators on how the global maritime community to move forward in a sustainable way.
SAFETY4SEA: What are the key industry’s challenges up to 2030 from your perspective?
Johannah Christensen: Decarbonizing international shipping by 2050 is one of the key challenges for the industry – and it will require the collaboration from and involvement of all stakeholders in the maritime ecosystem. Therefore, I am pleased to experience the support from more than 200 companies and organizations across the industry to the Getting to Zero Coalitions Call to Action, which we launched at GMF in late September. Since then, it has gained tremendous traction and momentum amongst policymakers and governments and was discussed at the opening at COP 26. A full and equitable decarbonization of international shipping by 2050 is urgent and achievable – and we need everyone in the maritime industry and in governments and relevant organizations to collaborate.
Also, the industry faces both challenges and opportunities linked to the maritime sector’s ESG performance, which we discussed at the Global Maritime Forum’s Annual Summit in London last week. Participants at our summit pointed to the need for more transparency, especially related to its ESG performance, for the sector to retain its license to operate in the future. We also discussed shipping’s circular economy and the need to throw away the throwaway mentality. The industry sees an opportunity to communicate more clearly on the positive impact the global maritime industry can have on environmental, social and governance issues. At our Annual Summit in London, and in our daily work I see a readiness from the leaders in the global community to collaborate and drive progress across the maritime spectrum. There is a real opportunity for change right now and a clear invitation for other stakeholders to join us in solving our shared challenges going into the next important decades.
S4S: What are your top priorities in Global Maritime Forum agenda following your recent appointment as CEO?
J.Chr.: At the GMF we know that progress happens when people from all parts of a system – in this case the global maritime industry and its stakeholders who have the will and the influence to make positive change – come together to discuss challenges and work together on finding new solutions. We have shown progress and results by facilitating these discussions since the beginning and right now we focus on decarbonization of global shipping and the important ESG issues mentioned above. As a newly appointed CEO I am thrilled to experience the constructive collaborative spirit and positive can-do attitude from our growing global community. The maritime industry is the lifeblood of the global economy, and it is in a unique position to demonstrate leadership by bringing about positive change, both for the industry and for society, which is what I work to achieve every day.
S4S: What should be the key priorities for the maritime industry with regards to a more sustainable future and how does your organization aim to assist towards that end?
J.Chr.: Most of the challenges and opportunities the maritime industry faces can only be solved through collaboration and by co-creation of viable solutions. No one single company or organization can solve global issues alone. At the Global Maritime Forum, we create the platform where leaders in the shipping industry can lead the way in creating and developing solutions that work both for the industry and for societies. We are a community of dedicated companies and strategic partners who facilitates and make sure, that we have the right decisions addressing relevant challenges and making sure that we have adequate and relevant scientific knowledge and analysis to base long term viable solutions upon.
S4S: Do you see any opportunities for the shipping industry out of this pandemic crisis? What is your advice to industry stakeholders during these challenging times?
J.Chr.: The pandemic has amplified issues, that were already challenging for the industry, like shortage of seafarers, supply chain issues etc. My take on how to solve this, is already baked in the way we work and solve challenges; It will happen through collaborative and tangible actions across the maritime ecosystem, aimed at solving global issues. These challenges also represent opportunities. For instance, there are ample opportunity to solve shortage of seafarers by seeking talent elsewhere in the world than what has traditionally been done.
S4S: Currently, we are witnessing many considerable efforts toward women empowerment in the maritime community. What needs to be done further to support gender diversity in shipping?
J.Chr.: The global shipping industry is facing a shortage on new talent coming in. This means shipping will have to compete with other industries for talent. At the same time, we know that the younger generations prefer to work in diverse workplaces and companies and more and more legislation is coming in to place on diversity at all levels. Shipping will have to comply with that, which is also an opportunity, since we know that more diverse groups and companies drives innovation and development better, which leads to a better bottom line. We are having this discussion already across the industry and the topics is a good example of how we can accelerate important discussions and find solutions through the platform we have created.
S4S: What is your key message to industry stakeholders with respect to a future of a more sustainable shipping?
J.Chr.: Actually, my key message is not to industry stakeholders – instead our key message goes from industry leaders to governments and regulators through the recently launch Call to Action on shipping decarbonization, where more than 200 industry called on governments with the message, that now we need you to pick up the ball on your side of the court, meaning work with the entire shipping community to ensure, that shipping can be decarbonized by 2050.
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.