Well, we were looking forward to the Sustainable Shipping Awards (SSAs) and we weren’t disappointed. London was gridlocked, Harry Potter mania was erupting on premiere night to close down what traffic movement there might have been, drawing fans from as far away as Vancouver – but then so did the SSAs with an audience from all over the world.
In a welcome address Yvo de Boer gave an excellent overview of some of the realities for shipping today in the context of our response to the climate change challenge. De Boer, previously General secretary of the UNFCCC, is now Special Global Advisor, Climate Change and Sustainability for KPMG world-wide and is a very strong communicator. He told us that even if the global regime on climate change is stuck, we as an industry can still choose what we want to do about issues of sustainability – which do not just include reducing greenhouse gases but all the questions around resources, water, food, quality of life, energy prices and energy reserves. With inaction on the global stage, whatever the politicians are threatening, or doing/not doing, at a local or a national level we can choose to take action in shipping – to take control rather than accept whatever we are handed.
Forum for the Future’s Jonathon Porritt was also very good as our host during the awards ceremony itself and it was an education in its own right seeing the parade of short listed companies in every category.
Anne-Marie Warris handed over the Lloyd’s Register sponsored Sustainable Ship Operator of the Year award to….. Maersk Line! MEPC Chairman Andreas Chrysostomou was honoured for his Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Shipping. I was sitting next to David Bolduc form Quebec based Green Marine who was delighted to win ‘Green Shipping Initiative of the Year’, heading off serious competition from the likes of Rightship. The cruise lines were there in force (Holland America Lines and RCCL were both award candidates), ports were represented (Gothenburg won the regional initiative category) and there were many new initiatives and technologies in the frame as well as some, like Skysails (who won the Environmental Technology award), with which we were already very familiar.