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  • Writer's pictureNikos Doukas

Steven Jones: The Environmental Leaders We Want, Need and Deserve

Steven Jones, CEO, The Sustainable Shipping Initiative
Steven Jones, CEO, The Sustainable Shipping Initiative

Shipping has reached an inevitable alter-course waypoint on its passage towards net zero. It seems that the years of the “why” of change, are now evolving rapidly into the “how”, and the industry needs leaders capable of taking this new course.

The obvious need for environmental change is growing ever more pressing, and so the pressures to be sustainable, progressive, innovative and bold are ever more focused, and making sure that progress is assured will be no easy feat.

Rise to these challenges we must, the planet needs action and upcoming generations will look to what we did, the evolution we pushed, and the revolution we drove. Now is the time for action, for our very future.

Implementation of green visions requires the active mobilisation of political leadership and ambition for science-based transformations. This must be achieved globally, so there is a clear need to embrace the necessary transformations to accelerate progress towards Sustainable Development Goals.

In steering the urgent call for sustainability, concrete actions must be taken to embrace innovative technologies and incorporate alternative fuels and energy-efficient propulsion systems.

It is crucial to establish and rigorously enforce environmental standards, promoting circular economy principles in both ship construction and maintenance. There is a vital human dimension too, and crew welfare must be prioritised, recognising the invaluable seafaring capital and addressing both physical and mental health concerns.

Transparency, collaboration, and global cooperation are paramount, encouraging the industry to share best practices and collectively address challenges. Educational initiatives and awareness campaigns are vital to instil a sense of responsibility, not only within the industry but also among consumers.

By championing these concrete sustainability changes, the shipping sector can progress, but it is to leadership that we must look to build on the impetus for change and accelerate the research, investments and developments needed.

 This is no mean feat for shipping, despite the vital, nay indispensable role in the global economy, there have often been challenges in effectively communicating our collective worth beyond the costs associated with shipping operations.

To address this, the maritime sector requires a brand of leadership that not only excels in operational excellence but also champions the broader significance of this industry. Now is the time, more than ever, that we need true, inspiring leaders to strike a delicate balance between demands, pragmatism and vision.

At the core of this leadership must be a set of unwavering values that serve as a guiding compass. Integrity, sustainability, and a planetary commitment should form the bedrock upon which all decisions are made. These values will not only steer the industry through challenging times but also fortify its reputation as a responsible and pivotal partner in the global supply chain.

Our new green maritime leaders must also foster a culture of shared meaning and continuous learning within their organisations. They should encourage open dialogue, embrace diverse perspectives, and cultivate an environment where lessons from both triumphs and missteps are seamlessly integrated into the collective knowledge base.

This approach fosters resilience, adaptability, and a commitment to constant improvement – qualities that are essential in an industry that operates in a dynamic global landscape. These are people who possess the emotional intelligence to open communications and to build genuine connections, as we all move towards a common vision.

These shipping ambassadors will champion sustainability and environmental stewardship, never shirking from understanding the realities of the environmental footprint of industry, but also knowing that by intelligent, innovative, impassioned leadership these marks can be erased and then eradicated.

So, to the maritime leaders who articulate our industry's invaluable contributions to global peace, and prosperity, we know that they are working tirelessly to ensure that the planet and people sit at the heart of shipping’s sustainable future.


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