Reflections on the 2024 ESG Shipping Awards

Jan Fransen, the Executive Director, Green Award Foundation, together with other judges, representatives from invited shipping companies, and other guests celebrated with the finalists and winners of the 2024 ESG Shipping Awards, held on May 20, 2024, at the Grand Hyatt in Athens, Greece.

Attending the event as an independent chair of the judges, Jan worked with nine other judges to evaluate nominees who have demonstrated best practices to reduce their environmental impact, prioritize their employees, support society, and maintain strong corporate governance practices and ethical conduct. They rated the initiatives of the nominees based on how impactful, inclusive, and measurable their actions were within the communities where they operated.

Winners emerged in four main categories: ESG Leader Award, Environment Leader Award, Social Leader Award, and Governance Leader Award. There were also winners of subcategories such as Climate Change, Circular Economy, Diversity, Equality and Inclusion, People, Community Contribution, Technology, and Supply Chain Leader Award.

“One of the highlights of the 2024 ESG Shipping Awards for me was seeing a bronze winner from the 2023 award move to clinch a silver award in 2024. That was inspiring to see. It shows they did something differently this year and are being motivated to make responsible business models the norm,” said Jan Fransen, Executive Director, Green Award Foundation.

Green Award certified shipping companies are frontrunners who are proving that it is possible to carry out business that profits people and the planet as they all perform at least 50% above international standards.

“It was not surprising to see that some Green Award certificate holders who were nominated won some of the awards. Our 2023 benchmarking report found that approximately 75% of Green Award certified shipping companies scored 65% above international standards in their operations. The Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) framework gives a steer in reporting the excellent work that they are already doing to their stakeholders,” Jan said.

As more and more stakeholders become more outspoken in holding corporate entities accountable for the impact of their operations on the environment, the ecosystem, and the communities where they work, ESG has become a preferred framework for reporting and a mirror for organizations to reflect on.

“I understand that commercial interests may drive some of the motivation to apply for the ESG Shipping Awards, and that is understandable. Every morning, as you look into the mirror, ask yourself, ‘Is what I reported the reality? How can I do better?’ We always have to look in the mirror; otherwise, it’s meaningless,” said Jan.

Our certification checklists could serve as an evaluation tool for shipping companies to assess how they are measuring up against required international standards on clean and safe shipping. We reward companies performing beyond the standard with the Green Award certification – a credible seal recognized by the public, investors, charterers, financiers, insurers, employees, and many others.