Strong corporate governance is the backbone of successful ESG initiatives – MMF

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 June, 2024 at 5:04 pm by Andre Camilleri

“Strong corporate governance is the backbone of successful ESG initiatives, providing the necessary leadership to achieve environmental and social targets”. Addressing an ESG conference hosted by the Malta Maritime Forum, Kevin J Borg, CEO of the same organisation, told maritime industry stakeholders that there can be no E and S without G. “A clear tone from the top and effective oversight are critical to attain these objectives”, Borg insisted.

The objective of the event was to dissect the different elements which make up ESG, focusing on the key challenges which maritime stakeholders are facing, while sharing insights on major efforts being taken by the industry to achieve such objectives.

Borg highlighted how effective ESG implementation was fundamental not only to satisfy regulatory requirements but also as it gives companies a competitive advantage, strengthening their reputation and brand.

MMF Chairman Godwin Xerri added that ESG requires us to prioritise environmental stewardship, value human relationships, and uphold governance standards. “Business as usual is no longer an option, we must leverage advancing technology and strong human resources to meet these challenges”, he argued.

Now in its third edition, the MMF’s ESG Conference brought together public and private sector stakeholders from the Maltese maritime industry which employs more than 12,000 persons directly, with the figure approaching double that amount in considering of indirect and ancillary services.

Christian Bækmark Schiolborg, Maritime Technology and Regulation Manager at BIMCO, the world’s largest organisation for shipowners, charterers, shipbrokers and agents highlighted the key regulations and standards impacting the maritime industry in the years ahead, including an IMO target that near-zero greenhouse gas emission fuels shall represent at least 5% of the energy used by shipping in 2030.

While reporting was not mandatory for all local shipping firms given their size, Dr Roberta Lepre, Managing Director at Weave Consulting, argued that companies would do well to consider this option in the interest of accountability. “Operators must identify the most suitable reporting framework for their organisation and engage stakeholders to enhance their impact on employees and the broader community”, she explained.

Mark Scicluna Bartoli, Head of Product Development at Bank of Valletta highlighted the facilitation of relationships between firms and credit institutions through ESG. He said that given the complexities involved, firms needed to invest in a skillset upgrade to meet these increasing demands which are fundamentally altering the landscape of industry.

The MMF ESG Conference was supported by Weave Consulting, BIMCO and Bank of Valletta.

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