Why is Cargill participating in the Sustainable Shipping Initiative and why is this important for our business?

Sensemaking / Why is Cargill participating in the Sustainable Shipping Initiative and why is this important for our business?

I get asked this question a fair amount by colleagues who work with me here in Geneva but also around the world, especially in Asia.

By Futures Centre / 19 Dec 2011

I get asked this question a fair amount by colleagues who work with me here in Geneva but also around the world, especially in Asia. Cargill is a member of Forum for the Future and recently joined the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) and has supported the Case for Action as well as SSI’s Vision for 2040. It is an exciting project for us to participate in and we really appreciate the opportunity to work together with so many leading companies and organizations in order to define what sustainable shipping should look like in 2040. Nonetheless, as a response to the question above I need to give a few more details and background.

While Cargill does not own vessels, we operate a charter fleet of over 350 vessels at any given point in time and seek to be a leading services and solutions provider in the dry-bulk shipping space. Corporate responsibility is core to our Ocean Transportation business, and we view responsible business practices; an engaged, safe workforce; a positive impact in our communities; and promoting a sustainable environment as key elements of our business.

We are keenly aware, however, that in order to solve some of the biggest challenges facing the shipping industry today we need collaboration across the shipping industry and involvement of the public and non-profit sector regardless of how challenging such a process can be. Issues such as global sustainability standards, energy sources of the future and ocean governance can only be solved when working together.

We are aware that this is a world of increasingly limited resources and that Cargill has a significant role to play to contribute to a sustainable future. We need to participate in fora such as the Sustainable Shipping Initiative in order for us to lead a successful and thriving business of the future, and to ensure that some of the best solutions for the environment, our communities and our business are brainstormed, discussed and ultimately implemented.

Granted, the process is not always easy, and even in the relatively limited time that the SSI exists (especially in light of the large timeframe it has set itself) I can think of a fair amount of heated debates and discussions that the Steering Group members have already had. This is a sign of how seriously everybody takes the Initiative and the issues at stake, and that no decision is taken lightly. It also shows that we all understand the importance this can have not just on our business but on larger sustainability issues as well.

Currently Jonathan and I are working on the work stream focusing on financing new technologies for innovation in the industry as well as producing a standard of standards to drive improved sustainability performance. My colleagues at Cargill and I are looking forward to more heated debates but also great ideas and actions, to help make our Vision reality; we are confident these will help all of us move towards a sustainable future.

To find out more about the SSI watch our short film here and visit the SSI website.

Clea Kaske is the corporate responsibility lead in Cargill’s energy, transportation and industrial platform. Together with Jonathan Stoneley from Cargill’s Ocean Transportation business she has been working on the Sustainable Shipping Initiative.

To find out more about Cargill and the other SSI member organisations visit the SSI members page.

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