Best practices of maritime stakeholders related to CSR and sustainable development

The shipping industry receives criticism about the way it is developed and the impacts that it generates, especially to the marine environment (Comtois and Slack, 2007) which challenges its sustainable character. The continuously evolving environment of the shipping industry creates numerous dilemmas about how a company can operate efficiently, within a socially responsible and acceptable context. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has emerged, as a voluntary concept, that can simultaneously enhance the performance of the company, while fulfilling societal values.

The objective of the deliverable is to map best practices of the shipping industry in Corporate Social Responsibility and to imprint the relevant perceptions and views of the maritime stakeholders, as the receivers of the impacts, generated from CSR activities. To that extent, their perspectives can be used as inputs for validating current practices and further highlight new fields of CSR action.

The methodology applied is based on a five step approach which includes review of the existing literature on the content of CSR in the maritime sector and desk-based research, concerning practices implemented at a European level, design of a purpose-made questionnaire, data collection, processing and analysis and discussion of the findings. For the treatment of the limitations arising from the statistical analysis, the results were further addressed to specific business partners of the industry, in order to investigate whether these could reflect the general prospects and perspectives of European maritime community.

The questionnaire classifies the parameters identified in literature and desk research, concerning the content of CSR into three categories: a) Environment and Energy, b) Human Resources and c) relations with the Community. The questionnaire was addressed to stakeholders from different European countries. Eventually, results were gathered from fifteen stakeholders from Greece, Norway, Denmark and Cyprus. The stakeholders that responded included representatives of the European Bodies, Seafarers, Port authorities, Classification Society, Regional authorities, Maritime Administration, NGOs, Maritime press and suppliers.

Results reflect the range of alternative activities that a company or other maritime institutions could adopt within its CSR strategy. Analysis showed that the top factors were the issues of “training”, “health and safety of the personnel”, “disposal of garbage in the ports” and “cleansing of oil”. The major conclusion derived is that the CSR concept in the shipping industry could be better served when human resources factors and environmental factors are combined, for the maximisation of a company’s performance to all levels of responsibility.

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