CSR500 Survey: At a glance

The survey has established an index which provides evidence of how CSR has been incorporated into the strategies of the organizations operating within the maritime industry. Namely, the survey assesses the compliance with CSR principles of 500 organizations, operating in more than 30 different countries. Last year, issues such as Cyber security, Information security, General data protection and additional environmental concerns were also examined.


The methodology of the survey is based on a Yes/No method while all data is either found on corporate websites or in corporate reports (CSR, Sustainability, Environmental etc.) which are refer to the period 2017-2018.  Thus, the extracted performance level is based on estimation and may be subject to changes if reports themselves change (in forthcoming years) or if companies get more thoroughly involved in CRS issues.

The core subjects of ISO 26000 are assigned to the 10 factors on which CSR500 survey is based. Table 1 shows the categorization of the factors selected to fit and comply with industry’s activities and concerns. The following types of organizations were examined: Oil Companies, ROs, LNG Operators, Yards, Drilling Companies, Tanker-LPG Operators, Container Operators, Cruise Operators, MoU PSC, P&I Clubs, Ro-Ro Operators, Suppliers, Bulker Operators, Port and Associations.

Survey Key Findings

This year, the CSR500 index found the CSR performance for the shipping industry to be above average, at 54%. According to the survey, Oil Companies, ROs and LNG Operators put CSR at the center of their activities (Table 2) and more specifically:

  • The top five rated sectors are: Oil companies (77.2%), ROs (67.9%), LNG Operators (66.3%), Drilling Companies (62.8%) and Yards (61.8%);
  • Oil companies remain at first position, having a significant increase in compliance rates (77.2% in 2019 while in 2016 the rate was 71%);
  • Organizations illustrate their CSR performance mostly via: publishing CSR policies on their corporate websites (95.7%); focusing on education training & awareness (81.2%); adopting a Code of Business Conduct and transparent policies (65.1%).

Survey analysis

For the fourth consecutive year, Oil Companies remain on top position, providing evidence that these organizations have realized the importance of CSR principles on their operations. Nonetheless, it is vital for oil organizations to show compliance with standards such as TMSA and cyber security and establish their own regulations in order to reassure that their operations are being conducted safely and by engaging CSR into their strategies, oil companies may strengthen their performance.

Training remains an important investment for the whole industry as the majority of the organizations allocate a significant amount of money on personnel training and awareness.

The Code of conduct / transparency factor, shows an average increase overall, in comparison with previous years; this can be mainly attributed to new regulations that have become effective, such as EU GDRP and Cyber security. Additionally, the provisions in EU regulation 2016/679, which includes personal data, are the new basis for information handling.

In terms of prioritization, the most prominent target for the industry should be to set the example and lead the way to raise awareness across all sectors of the industry with respect to CSR principles and CSR reporting.

In this regard, organizations may invest more in CSR activities by establishing dedicated units or departments and having qualified professionals for effective monitoring and tangible outcomes.  Also, a process for the development of CSR standards exclusively for shipping, including standardization of the environmental performance via KPIs for CSR and benchmarking should be considered by industry stakeholders.

Overall, compliance is never enough if organizations do not communicate their actions. Thus, CSR reporting needs to become mainstream for all organizations in order to ensure transparency and assist all sectors to engage in CSR procedures. One of the ways for companies to share their CSR and sustainability policies, both internally and externally, is to use and follow standards such as the ISO 2600, the Global Reporting Initiative, the integrated reporting or the Dow Jones sustainability index and obtain related certifications.