These are the thoughts of our CEO, Matt Duke, on sustainable shipping on this World Maritime Day 2020:
Like many Norwegians, I am drawn to the ocean to relax. But I don’t stay above the surface, like most people. Scuba diving is my go-to thing when I need to wind down. There is nothing more relaxing and peaceful to me than the feeling of weightlessness we get when floating in the vastness of the oceans. Here in western Norway, we are particularly fortunate to have crystal clear water for much of the year, so you really get the feeling of flying along the fjords, with the blue sea surrounding you.
As a part of my scuba hobby, I take part in an annual clean-up of the Bergen harbour. It is not a pretty sight. We find the most peculiar things down there on the bottom, like shopping carts or tractor wheels. The last years there has been a change, however. I have seen the build-up of floating debris – plastics. It is not something that only accumulates in huge garbage patches or in animals who have unwillingly collected it. It has been a part of the ocean. You can hardly go diving without seeing it. Besides, you have all the microplastics, which are too small for you to notice.
I have travelled to different corners of the world to dive as well. The change in the ocean is evident everywhere. It is not just plastics; you see changes in vegetation and animal life. Coral reefs are dying. The sea life depending on the corals disappear. Climate change is real, as is our overall negative impact on the ocean. I see it whenever I go out there to relax. For many of us close to the ocean, it gives cause for concern and an urgency to be part of the solution.
We will restore our oceans
In the Grieg Group, we have said that “We will restore our oceans”. That is our sustainability pledge. We will do it together with friends and partners. We must balance economic growth with environmental sustainability, and I for one am confident we can do it.
In Grieg Star Group, we are given a unique position to work towards this goal. We are an active partner in several research and development projects, trying to find sustainable solutions for shipping. We are looking into the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to make us more efficient. We are using it to reduce energy consumption. Together with our great partners in the ZEEDS consortium, we have been looking at new energy sources for our ships. Our core business will be empowered to change at a realistic and achievable rate so that ultimately one day in the future, we can cross the Atlantic without any green-house gas (CHG) emissions. I believe for our team working in Ship Management and our partners in our JV G2 Ocean, this will be a tremendously exciting journey full of small steps and occasional setbacks, that finally get us to our goal. In the medium term, we shall work hard towards IMO2030, with a 40% cut in CHG emissions in the next nine years. That shall be our core focus today and for many years to come.
New ways of succeeding
For ten years, Grieg Green has helped ship owners to recycle their old ships and control the quantity of hazardous materials onboard. For the years to come, Grieg Green will expand its services to support our pledge. Besides, we have established a company that will innovate and support other people’s innovations: Grieg Edge. And what is really cool about them, is that Edge will only be involved in sustainable innovations and businesses. The Edge team is still small, but they have some exciting projects going on. They shall help us find profitable and sustainable new business that is released from the shackles of history. They will be allowed to explore and experiment in new ways for our business to earn money.
On this day, The World Maritime Day, I feel we are on the path to something better. In Grieg Star Group, we see that it is possible to both do good and make money. It is possible to be genuinely sustainable. We are not there yet, but we will get there. We will restore our oceans. We will build sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet, and in that journey, we will all be invited to be part of the solution.
CEO, Grieg Star Group
Matt Duke, our CEO and a passionate scuba diver
Photos from the annual clean-up of Bergen harbour in September 2020.
Photos: Cessa Rauch (SUB-BSI), Bjørnar Nygård (SUB-BSI)