In an exclusive interview to SAFETY4SEA, Susanne Justesen who is leading the Human Sustainability team in the Global Maritime Forum, explains why industry needs to focus on human sustainability to move forward.
‘’Human sustainability is about how we treat and behave towards the people working in the maritime industry’’, Dr. Justesen explains and refers to GMF’s key initiatives towards that aim, first and foremost, to increase transparency in all aspects of the maritime industry’s human sustainability practices.
SAFETY4SEA: What does human sustainability mean for the shipping industry? Why should industry stakeholders focus on this issue?
Susanne Justesen: Human sustainability is about how we treat and behave towards the people working in the maritime industry, which is critical for attracting future talent. We know that many amongst the younger generations value diversity, equity, inclusion, and overall safety and wellbeing just as much, if not higher than monetary benefits. Our main initiative in the Human Sustainability programme is the All Aboard Alliance, which currently has 35 member companies who have all embarked on a collective journey towards improving overall diversity, equity, and inclusion across the maritime industry. Other initiatives include the Neptune Declaration work focused on improving seafarer wellbeing, our different initiatives targeting young leaders below the age of 30, and a few other initiatives focused on sexual assault and harassment, and improving overall [email protected] Because without the millions of people working in the maritime sector, world trade would grind to a halt. By taking responsibility and ownership of our people and practices, the maritime industry can attract and retain the talent it needs for the future.
S4S: When it comes to human sustainability, what are the three things that industry needs to do at the short term to make the difference?
S.J.: To be able to address the maritime industry’s issues, we are very focused on first shining a light on the current state of affairs. By increasing transparency in all aspects of the maritime industry’s human sustainability practices we can address the most critical issues and drive the most impactful actions. One crucial issue to tackle immediately is sexual assault and sexual harassment (SASH) at sea. A safe work environment onboard is the only way to ensure that we can attract the next generation of talent for the industry. Lastly, the maritime industry can benefit immensely from listening to and engaging with young people. This will enable future generations in helping to shape the future of the maritime industry. For the industry to be attractive to future generations, it must appeal to the values and interests of young people.
S4S: Do you have any projects/ plans that you would like to share with industry stakeholders?
S.J.: The Global Maritime Forum continuously looks to improve sustainability in all aspects of the maritime industry, notably also around human sustainability. We are currently working on establishing a global network for young maritime leaders to come together and develop a collective global young maritime voice, which will be impactful for young professionals who are seldom invited to the table for discussions. Additionally, as part of our work on increasing diversity at sea in the All Aboard Alliance, we have currently – together with member companies – interviewed more than 100 women seafarers to identify and understand key challenges that women experience at sea. The goal is to make life at sea inclusive and safe for everyone. We will be publishing the main findings and key challenges at a later stage, to help set the direction for future work.
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 discussion purposes only.
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