RightShip takes the helm of implementing ESG strategies across the maritime industry. Charting new waters into Singapore, we speak with ESG Manager, Aishwarya Iyer
Writer: Phoebe Harper
In today’s corporate climate, non-financial factors are rising in significance as indicators of a company’s performance, holding greater appeal to stakeholders and influence for investors.
At the forefront of this is Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), as greater transparency is expected from companies in terms of their commitment to recognising and acting on social responsibilities, ranging from climate change to social unrest and a host of matters in between.
The maritime sector is no different, as businesses embrace ESG as a means to navigate both risk and opportunity. This comes as the call for decarbonisation in the industry grows increasingly deafening, and fact-based disclosure is expected from regulators, financiers, and cargo owners.
“Corporates themselves are beginning to see the benefits of transparent ESG reporting and their role in conserving marine ecosystems, reducing emissions, enhancing crew welfare and running ethical businesses,” says Aishwarya Iyer, ESG Manager for RightShip – the world’s largest third-party due diligence player.
“ESG as a discipline is well positioned to move from being an add-on or overlay to becoming a mainstream topic just like traditional financial reporting,” she continues.
Indeed, as ESG continues to be carried on a tide of acceptance and incorporation into the mainstream, the means of reporting through ESG frameworks is becoming a uniform practice.
“ESG elements have always been important screening factors while evaluating investments or lending to offshore sectors, but in the last few years, these elements have come together in a more structured manner under ESG.”
The disclosure of ESG performance is being supported by regulatory pressure, as offshore industries are effectively screened by these standards and institutional investors and financial analysts incorporate these considerations into their valuation and risk assessments.
Established in Melbourne in 2001 under founding shareholders Rio Tinto and dry bulk charterers BHP, RightShip offers a range of products that enable shipowners, charterers, ports, terminals, financial and insurance sector players to track and benchmark their emissions performance, crew welfare and operational efficiency. By so doing, customers benefit from full visibility over the progress of sustainability goals.
“I also feel that corporates will use their ESG profiles to enhance their image and brand value, as ESG reporting provides a holistic picture of how a corporate is functioning in its responsibility towards all stakeholders including the community, employees, suppliers, shareholders and of course, the environment,” adds Iyer.
Iyer herself was drawn to RightShip in recognition of the impact that ESG could have within a sector that accounts for three percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with significant scope for progress in terms of ocean governance and an emphasis on crew welfare.
Most recently, RightShip has expanded its mission of benchmarking standards for the maritime industry by launching in Singapore. The city-state was a strategic choice as a dynamic nexus of maritime trade, home to some of the world’s largest shipping companies, with a receptive market that holds the potential for huge impact.
This is the latest in a series of moves RightShip has made to expand its footprint across Asia, having opened representative offices in Shanghai, China in July 2021, followed by Hiroshima, Japan in November 2021.
“Singapore has continued to strengthen its presence as a leading global maritime hub and the launch of the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (August 2021) has further cemented the country’s commitment to combating climate change,” Iyer explains.
“Having a physical presence close to our customer base enables us to be on the front line of the conversation.”
The new office builds on extended collaboration with support from Singaporean organisations, including an MoU signed with the Singapore Maritime Institute to co-operate on a Maritime AI (Artificial Intelligence) Programme. The space will also act as an innovation hub to deliver zero-harm solutions for the maritime sector.
With this latest addition, RightShip offers a chance to further support decarbonisation efforts, set overall structure for ESG, and drive change in a key sector that informs global supply chains. With RightShip’s suite of solutions charting the journey to a zero-harm sector, ESG is set to become a matter of smooth sailing.