Shipping industry unites to launch Code of Conduct and self-assessment to protect seafarers’ rights and welfare

LONDON, 12 October 2021 – Today sees the launch of a landmark Code of Conduct and self-assessment tool developed to protect the human rights and welfare of the world’s nearly two million seafarers. The initiative aims to support a safe, healthy and secure onboard work environment, and goes beyond the ILO Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) to focus on the full spectrum of seafarers’ rights and wellbeing, from fair terms of employment and minimum crewing levels to the management of grievance mechanisms. The documents can be accessed here.

The project has been led by the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) and the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), in collaboration with the Rafto Foundation for Human Rights and RightShip. Key SSI members played an active role in its development, with expert input from Forum for the Future, Louis Dreyfus Company, Oldendorff Carriers, South32, Standard Chartered Bank, Swire Shipping and Wilhelmsen Ship Management.

“A sustainable shipping industry needs to ensure the protection of its workforce. This presents a unique opportunity for the industry to work together and take concrete action for the rights of nearly 2 million seafarers worldwide, now and in the future” Kristina Kunigenas, Human Rights Lead at the Sustainable Shipping Initiative, said.

Based on international labour and human rights standards and principles, the Code of Conduct and self-assessment were created over eight months of consultation and collaboration with shipowners, operators, charterers, cargo owners, seafarers’ associations, civil society and others.

To enable immediate action across the industry, RightShip has launched an online self-assessment tool developed in collaboration with SSI and IHRB. This freely available questionnaire provides practical guidance on utilising the Code of Conduct, helping shipowners and operators understand their responsibilities while assessing current operations and ways of working, and consequently showing areas for improvement.

“The global pandemic brought seafarers rights firmly into focus, with many crews forced to endure exceptionally difficult conditions to keep global supply chains and trade freely flowing,” notes Frances House, Deputy Chief Executive at IHRB. “We expect a great deal from them and it’s only right that they expect an adequate standard of care, conditions, and quality from us. This is a proud, vital industry that depends on people to keep sailing. This Code of Conduct and self-assessment will help build a platform to respect worker dignity while advancing industry progress. We look forward to widespread engagement from industry stakeholders everywhere.”

Download the Code of Conduct and associated documents: https://www.sustainableshipping.org/seafarers/

Testimonials from SSI members and partners:

Cynthia Morel, Senior Sustainability Strategist, Forum for the Future: “This marks a vital step towards ensuring that seafarers’ human rights are respected. We hope that this will lay the foundation for fostering the deeper relationships, connections and trust necessary to ensure the shipping sector commits to honouring human dignity and enabling equitable outcomes in its operations and supply-chains it is active in.”

Sebastien Landerretche, Head of Freight at Louis Dreyfus Company: “As a leading global charterer, LDC is committed to promoting the welfare of seafarers, who are essential to the continuity, resilience and decarbonization of the shipping industry. We believe today’s launch is an important foundation for a sustainable future, setting industry participants’ responsibilities and reinforcing support processes for crew members.”

Scott Jones, Director of Communications at Oldendorff Carriers: “The shipping industry has been, and continues to be, very focused on reducing its carbon footprint. However, it is equally important that we focus on the human element to make sure that seafarers’ rights are respected and that we have a holistic view to make the industry truly sustainable. This Code of Conduct is an important new step in highlighting seafarers’ rights and giving the shipping industry a sustainable future.”

Jostein Hole Kobbelvedt, Executive Director, Rafto Foundation for Human Rights: “There are growing expectations towards companies with regard to adhering to international human rights standards such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. A proactive and systematic approach is necessary. The Rafto Foundation has had the privilege of working with IHRB and SSI to develop the Code of Conduct – Delivering on seafarers’ rights. We hope it will be a valuable tool for the shipping industry in order to promote social sustainability and deliver on human rights.”

Christopher Saunders, Chief Product Officer at RightShip: “At RightShip, we have an ambitious vision for a maritime industry that causes zero harm to people and the environment we operate in, so we are delighted to be working with SSI and key stakeholders to deliver this important initiative for seafarers. While technology is changing the way that we move cargo, the human contribution to the supply chain is the lifeblood of our industry. Safe, sustainable voyages rely on crews that are supported to work safely, without risk to their wellbeing. We believe the Crew Welfare Code of Conduct and self-assessment tool will be a significant step forward in giving our essential workers the respect and recognition they deserve and importantly provide guidance and support to those striving to operate beyond compliance.”

Robert Haggquist, Senior Chartering Manager at South32: “We are pleased to have worked with likeminded partners across the shipping value chain to deliver this important initiative that we believe will contribute to a more sustainable maritime industry. The pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of seafarers but also their importance to keep global supply chains working. With this Code of Conduct we are addressing the systemic issues in the industry by giving owners and charterers a platform to collaborate and to improve transparency around seafarers’ welfare. Only by improving the respect for seafarers’ rights can we achieve truly sustainable supply chains with positive social impact.”

Samantha Bramley, Director Environmental & Social Risk Management, Sustainable Finance, Global Banking at Standard Chartered Bank: “Standard Chartered has made a commitment to achieve zero CO2 emissions from our global operations by 2030 and transport by 2050. In line with our work under the Poseidon Principles we are integrating climate considerations into lending decisions with an aim to supporting shipping decarbonization. However, the S in ESG must not be forgotten, and the work being done to protect and respect seafarers’ rights should remain a priority for lenders, investors and other stakeholders in the maritime sector.”

Simon Bennett, General Manager – Sustainable Development at Swire Shipping: “Seafarers work long, hard hours, for many months away from their families and friends. They deserve to be treated with respect, and to receive the same rights that their shore-based colleagues experience as the norm, and then more, to take account of the non-standard working environment. Many of us had assumed that the ILO MLC (2006) would assure this. But sadly the Covid-19 pandemic showed that whilst much was said about the crucial nature of the job they were doing, little was practically delivered, and in fact in many places their treatment became markedly worse. We believe that this Code of Conduct details the areas required to be addressed to ensure that seafarers’ rights are observed, and exhort all shipowners to facilitate, provide them and support shippers and others with interests in our delivering a sustainable and humane shipping value chain and industry to assure themselves, using this assessment, that this is indeed the case.”

Carl Schou, CEO and President at Wilhelmsen Ship Management: “The question is no longer whether seafarers deserve better, but how we are addressing this and taking action. This Code of Conduct and self-assessment tool is a good check and balance for responsible owners and operators to improve the welfare of our seafarers. The responsibility to ensure a thriving seafaring community is in our hands.”

– ENDS –

Notes to Editors

For more information, interviews or comment please contact Elizabeth Petit, Head of Communications, Sustainable Shipping Initiative (e.petit@sustainableshipping.org) and Haley St. Dennis, Head of Communications, Institute for Human Rights and Business  (haley.st.dennis@ihrb.org).

About the Sustainable Shipping Initiative

The Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) is a multi-stakeholder collective of ambitious and like-minded leaders, driving change through cross-sectoral collaboration to contribute to – and thrive in – a more sustainable maritime industry. Spanning the entire shipping value chain, SSI members are shipowners and charterers; ports; shipyards, marine product, equipment and service providers; banks, ship finance and insurance providers; classification societies; and sustainability non-profits.

www.sustainableshipping.org | @SustShipping

About the Institute for Human Rights and Business

Founded in 2009, IHRB is the leading international think tank on business and human rights. IHRB’s mission is to shape policy, advance practice, and strengthen accountability in order to make respect for human rights part of everyday business.

www.ihrb.org | @ihrb

Download this press release as a PDF


Self-assessment questionnaire - Delivering on seafarers' rights

This questionnaire is the result of work carried out by the Sustainable Shipping Initiative’s (SSI) Delivering on seafarers’ rights working group, in partnership with the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) and in collaboration with RightShip. The self-assessment provides concrete guidance to shipowners, operators, charterers and cargo owners to understand the extent to which current operations meet their seafarers’ rights and welfare obligations.

The questionnaire provides practical guidance on meeting the Code of Conduct – Delivering on seafarers’ rights, and where relevant questions are expanded on, providing three levels of compliance:

  • Basic: Achieving the basic level requires meeting all requirements for the basic level.
  • Intermediate: Achieving the intermediate level requires meeting all requirements for the basic and intermediate levels.
  • Excellent: Achieving the excellent level requires meeting all requirements for the basic, intermediate and excellent level.

Addressing sustainability issues is a journey, and the Code of Conduct and self-assessment are not intended to be a one-time snapshot or overnight change, but rather showcase demonstrable progress over time to secure lasting and positive change for our seafarers.

Find out more about the work and download the Code of Conduct.

The self-assessment questionnaire can be completed online through a Self-Assessment Tool hosted by RightShip. The Self-Assessment Tool is free for any shipowner or manager to fill in. On completion, a Crew Welfare badge will appear on the company’s vessel page within the RightShip Platform. Ship owners and managers will be sent a PDF summary of their submission, and will be reminded to re-submit after a year.

Visit the RightShip Crew Welfare Tool to learn more.


Code of Conduct - Delivering on seafarers' rights

The shipping industry is required to comply with the International Labour Organization (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) and other international conventions covering the human rights (which include labour rights) of workers. Like all industry sectors, companies in the shipping sector have a responsibility to respect the human rights of seafarers, including when they are workers along their supply chain, in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

This Code of Conduct seeks to reinforce compliance with the MLC and other relevant maritime conventions and goes beyond by focusing on valuing seafarers and the full spectrum of their human rights. It aims to address systemic risks and impacts experienced by seafarers through: (i) emphasising rights in the MLC that are not being adequately enforced; and (ii) including rights and issues that are important to seafarers but not currently covered in the MLC.

The Code of Conduct can be used by shipowners and ship operators to understand the extent to which current operations meet their seafarers’ rights and welfare responsibilities, and by charterers and cargo owners to strengthen due diligence that in turn informs chartering-related decision-making. It is supplemented by a practical self-assessment questionnaire developed in collaboration with RightShip which provides guidance on how to meet the commitments outlined in the Code of Conduct and track progress.

Find out more about the work and download the self-assessment questionnaire.


SSI Impact: News from our journey to sustainable shipping - 03/2021

The SSI Newsletter is published quarterly and is the place to find news from the SSI community, our partners and the impact of our collective work along our journey to a sustainable shipping industry.

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Moving ahead with sustainability criteria of fuels for shipping

On 8 September 2021 the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) launched Defining sustainability criteria for zero and low carbon marine fuels outlining fifteen issues, principles and criteria that provide guidance on the sustainability of fuels under consideration for shipping’s decarbonisation.

Following the launch of the report, SSI in collaboration with Lloyd’s Register convened a small roundtable during London International Shipping Week with the goal of discussing the findings of the report and identifying concrete next steps to bring lifecycle emissions and sustainability to the forefront of decarbonisation discussions for the maritime sector.

Finally, Climate Week NYC saw a public launch webinar take place with support from the Getting to Zero Coalition, which brought together speakers from A.P. Moller-Maersk, Lloyd’s Register and the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials to discuss practical challenges and opportunities around the topic.

Watch the recording and read a summary of key points raised and next steps below.

The future of zero emission fuels will not be sector-specific

Participants agreed that shipping does not need to reinvent the wheel to ensure that the fuels it develops, promotes and invests in are sustainable beyond emission reduction. The future zero and low carbon fuels will share much of their supply chain regardless of their end use, and there is a need to harmonise existing sustainability standards and certifications across sectors and engage with other modes of transport such as aviation and road.

Building sustainability into decision-making early

Early action is key to ensure adoption, and shipping’s current fuel transition presents an opportunity to incorporate sustainability considerations along availability, cost and technical feasibility. Industry players agree that there is no silver bullet solution and all fuel users will need to consider a number of options.

Building sustainability considerations into the discussion early and providing assurance through standards and certification schemes can: help shipowners and operators make informed purchasing decisions, increase transparency, guide investment, and enable the development of new, sustainable fuel supply chains through demand.

Drivers for standards and certification

Assurance through a standard and supporting certification programme can provide minimum requirements and ensure that actors across the value chain understand the sustainability credentials of fuels being considered for purchase and use.

The shipping sector can build on existing work such as the EU Renewable Energy Directive (EU RED) and ICAO’s CORSIA standard, and look to the biofuels sector for an example of existing sustainability standards and certification.

While there is a key role for shipowners, operators, cargo owners and others in demanding sustainability assurance, regulation may be the biggest driver in ensuring the adoption of any standard or assurance mechanism.

Risks and challenges

While assurance is key in building trust and transparency along the fuel value chain, there is a need to ensure it does not become a burden or barrier to scaling up sustainable fuel production. Harmonising criteria across sectors and building on existing work can help avoid overburdening fuel producers and other actors along the fuel value chain.

Further discussion and research is needed to understand the points at which sustainability certification is possible along the fuel value chain, noting that the majority of sustainability risks are found at the beginning, e.g. with the feedstock.

Other issues discussed included the need for auditing for assurance and fraud risk and potential double counting for e.g. synthetic fuels produced based on renewable electricity.

Moving ahead

Participants agreed on the importance of sustainability criteria to increase awareness of different environmental, social and economic sustainability issues across the well-to-wake lifecycle of a fuel, and the need to ensure that negative impacts are not shifted upstream in the fuel value chain.

The key takeaway from these discussions is the need for cross-sectoral collaboration and harmonisation, looking beyond maritime for guidance on sustianability criteria and assurance that can be applied to future fuels for any sector.

If you are interested in discussing further, please download the report below, or contact us at info@sustainableshipping.org


SSI participates in Making Waves: The Future of Shipping programme

SSI recently took part in the UK Chamber of Shipping’s Making Waves: The Future of Shipping project, developed in partnership with Content With Purpose (CWP). Making Waves: The Future of Shipping is a long-form news and current affairs-style programme, telling the story of the issues and opportunities facing the shipping industry at a time of environmental crisis, and profiling the professionals and organisations who are dedicated to creating a cleaner future for shipping.

SSI’s contribution to this programme includes interviews with SSI members Katharine Palmer; Lloyd’s Register, Mark Lutes; WWF, and Samantha Bramley; Standard Chartered Bank, alongside Andrew Stephens; SSI’s Executive Director, who provide different views on decarbonising the shipping industry sustainably.

The film discusses topics such as the lifecycle approach to decarbonisation and the importance of considering the wider environmental, social and governance issues of zero and low carbon marine fuels. Coming together across sectors, stakeholders highlighted the importance of collaboration in tackling issues related to land use, air quality, labour and human rights, food security and others when determining the sustainability of a fuel.

The film discussed some of the issues raised in SSI’s Defining sustainability criteria for marine fuels report, published this September. Read the full report here.


Sustainable Shipping Initiative highlights need for sustainability of marine fuels to be considered in shipping’s decarbonisation

LONDON, 8 September 2021 – The Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) today launches a new report, titled Defining sustainability criteria for marine fuels, outlining fifteen issues, principles and criteria that provide guidance on the sustainability of marine fuels under consideration for shipping’s decarbonisation.

As the industry transitions to zero emission shipping, there is a need to better understand the sustainability issues surrounding the marine fuels being explored and to ensure that zero and low carbon fuels do not shift emissions and other externalities up- or downstream along the supply chain.

At the same time, low GHG emissions and carbon intensity only cover a fraction of the sustainability issues across the full well-to-wake lifecycle of a fuel. Environmental considerations, such as air quality and ecological impacts; social considerations, such as social, labour and human rights; and socio-economic considerations, such as economic wellbeing and food security, must be taken into account when determining a fuel’s sustainability.

Building on previous work carried out by SSI members and academic partner Copenhagen Business School (CBS) Maritime, under the Green Shipping Project, the report aims to ensure that sustainability is considered at the same level as availability, cost and technical feasibility in discussions around decarbonisation.

A broader understanding of sustainability issues from a full lifecycle perspective allows for informed decision-making around value chain risks, helping to direct choices for investment, purchase and consumption. This work will also encourage and facilitate discussion around sustainability certification of zero and low carbon marine fuels, which can provide assurance to the organisations investing in marine fuels, promote trust across the value chain and aid in the selection of sustainable fuel options for shipping.

Read the report: https://www.sustainableshipping.org/resources/defining-sustainability-criteria-for-marine-fuels/

Register for a webinar on the topic, to take place on Thursday 23 September: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_lUO-W-b-TIimHkfbDjs8_g

 

 

Ingrid Marie Andersen, Head of Decarbonisation Targets and Life Cycle Analysis, A.P. Moller Maersk: “The shipping industry needs scalable, sustainable solutions to decarbonise. In the transition of shipping, we must ensure that we do not just shift shipping’s emissions upstream in the fuel supply chain. It is crucial that we apply a lifecycle perspective to the entire well-to-wake greenhouse gas footprint of the fuel, consider all greenhouse gasses, and in addition ensure that the production and use of the fuel is not associated with adverse and undesirable effects on e.g. biodiversity.”

Dr. Henrik Sornn-Friese, Director and Associate Professor, Copenhagen Business School Maritime: “Today, the sustainability debate tends to focus on environmental factors, while social and especially economic sustainability are often overlooked. We need a set of sustainability criteria for assessing alternative marine fuels that is holistic, explicable and can be used by a broad range of stakeholders. Holistic in the sense that they consider the whole lifecycle as well as the synergies and trade-offs among the economic, social and environmental sustainability dimensions. Explicable in the sense that they are comprehensive but simple, few in number and mutually exclusive. CBS Maritime is happy to have provided the review and scrutiny of academic literature, providing a foundation on which sustainability criteria for the maritime industry can be built.”

Katharine Palmer, Global Sustainability Manager, Lloyd’s Register: “As the shipping industry transitions to zero-carbon shipping, we do not want to shift the problem upstream so it’s fundamental that the lifecycle sustainability impacts of potential zero-carbon fuels are considered equally in conjunction with their safety, technical feasibility and commercial viability. This means looking beyond greenhouse gases and including all environmental and social impacts. Certification plays a key role in this and it’s important we have sustainability criteria now so it can guide the direction of shipping’s pathways to zero.”

Andreea Miu, Decarbonisation Lead, Sustainable Shipping Initiative: “There is a tendency to emphasise GHG emissions when discussing decarbonisation. However, the industry needs to move beyond emissions and ensure that the fuels shipping invests in also consider environmental, social, and socio-economic sustainability aspects across the well-to-wake lifecycle of a fuel. Through this work, SSI hopes to bring sustainability to the decarbonisation debate and start a discussion around the role of standards and certification for sustainable marine fuels.”

Simon Bennett, General Manager – Sustainable Development, Swire Shipping Pte Ltd: “The latest IPCC report to UNFCCC is a red alert to the planet. The science is clear; to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, we must act now to cut global emissions. We in the shipping sector must also play our part and many, Swire Shipping included, have set a target of zero carbon emissions by latest 2050, and preferably well before then. We are doing what we can technically and operationally, but this alone is not enough. We need alternate fuels that are low or zero carbon on a well-to-wake basis, whilst also being safe, scalable, and sustainable. Swire Shipping is happy to have helped provide a foundation in this report to help guide the evaluation of how each sustainability issue can be considered.”

— ENDS –

Notes to Editors

For more information, interviews or comment please contact Elizabeth Petit, Head of Communications, Sustainable Shipping Initiative (e.petit@sustainableshipping.org).

An infographic providing an overview of the well-to-wake lifecycle of a marine fuel can be downloaded here. The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Sustainable Shipping Initiative

The Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) is a multi-stakeholder collective of ambitious and like-minded leaders, driving change through cross-sectoral collaboration to contribute to – and thrive in – a more sustainable maritime industry. Spanning the entire shipping value chain, SSI members are shipowners and charterers; ports; shipyards, marine product, equipment and service providers; banks, ship finance and insurance providers; classification societies; and sustainability non-profits.

www.sustainableshipping.org | @SustShipping

Download this press release as a PDF


Defining sustainability criteria for marine fuels

As the industry transitions to zero emission shipping, there is a need to better understand the sustainability issues surrounding the marine fuels being explored and to ensure that zero and low carbon fuels do not shift emissions and other externalities up- or downstream along the supply chain.

At the same time, low GHG emissions and carbon intensity only cover a fraction of the sustainability issues across the full well-to-wake lifecycle of a fuel. Environmental considerations, such as air quality and ecological impacts; social considerations, such as social, labour and human rights; and socio-economic considerations, such as economic wellbeing and food security, must be taken into account when determining a fuel’s sustainability.


Infographic: The well-to-wake lifecycle of zero and low carbon fuels

In order to provide a more complete picture of the sustainability of a marine fuel, sustainability concerns should be understood and addressed over the full lifecycle, commonly referred to as well-to-wake.

Lifecycle refers to all stages in the lifecycle of marine fuels – both well-to-tank and tank-to-wake (therefore well-to-wake).

  • Well-to-tank includes, but is not limited to, operations leading to the production of the fuel (e.g., cultivation, harvesting, collection and recovery for feedstock-based fuels; or primary energy production for electrofuels), including changes in carbon pools, forgone carbon sequestration and indirect land use change, the production of the fuel, conversion processes (including but not limited to liquefaction, synthesis or compression), end-of-life treatment of by-products and waste streams, transportation and distribution, storage and bunkering.
  • Tank-to-wake includes, but is not limited to, the application of the fuel on board of the ship (through e.g., combustion in vessel engines or fuel cell propulsion) and, if applicable, end of life treatment (e.g., for batteries and fuel cells).


SSI Impact: News from our journey to sustainable shipping - 02/2021

The SSI Newsletter is published quarterly and is the place to find news from the SSI community, our partners and the impact of our collective work along our journey to a sustainable shipping industry.

Subscribe to SSI Impact: News from our journey to sustainable shipping