There is a general recognition throughout industry, commerce and the public sector of the increasing need for transparency across business operations. There is recognition that they are increasingly coming under the spotlight as much for the ‘non-financial’ aspects of their operations as for the financial.
Increasingly well informed and engaged procurers are interested in how the organisations it buys services and products from impact on the environment, how it treats the welfare of those that work directly for them and indirectly through the supply chain in addition to its interaction with local communities around the world. There is a growing understanding that these ’softer’ issues involving aspects of corporate social responsibility can directly impact on the bottom line. And in a world where images and news can be beamed around the world within seconds, it’s recognised that reputation and brand are now inherently part of the long-term viability of the business.
Legal requirements to externally report non-financials are gradually increasing globally and there is growing awareness of the value that reportable Corporate Responsibility (CR) policies and practices are having on the bottom line. Many organisations, particularly those closest and best known to the consumer are taking this on board with formalised CR practices including a commitment to produce annual reports on their environmental, health and safety and sustainability practices.
This is increasingly being recognised within the maritime sector where several pieces of new environmental legislation will be having an impact over the coming years, including a greater need for fuel efficiency and control of emissions. Generally there is also a greater recognition of the need for continual improvement in the way that goods are transported at sea.
In a highly regulated and controlled sector, it is therefore surprising that there are still relatively few organisations that choose to have their environmental and health and safety reports independently verified. One such organisation is global ship management company, Zodiac Maritime Agencies Ltd, headquartered in the UK.
Zodiac manages a large fleet of container ships, bulk carriers, car carriers, chemical and gas tankers and has an international workforce of more than 7,000 seafarers of which 3,000 will be on-board at any time. Responsible for carrying out a full set of management activities from sale and purchase, through to day to day activities of technical, crew, commercial and safety management, the company has recently published its third report, Health, Safety and Environmental Report 2012 which is available for download from its website. The report details the progress made in meeting its objectives and targets over the last 12 months together with information of interest to stakeholders.