Our world is changing and West is committed to help develop the
sustainable maritime industries of tomorrow. Environmental, social and
governance (ESG) concerns are at the forefront of that change and we are
working on formalising our ESG policies and frameworks as well as building on
our existing achievements.
We have identified areas of focus for West where we can have a positive impact and to embed ESG into our culture, working collaboratively with staff, Members and business partners to promote ESG principles.
As part of this commitment, West have selected a number of the United Nation’s 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development to use as a focus point for our further ESG strategy. We have created an ESG team from across our business with a broad geographical, gender and hierarchical representation, who will assess how we can develop our framework and policies further across all our regional offices to further embed sustainability into every aspect of the Club’s operations.
Additionally, as a member of the International Group of P&I Clubs, West is working alongside the other Clubs to help develop the IG’s own sustainability programme.
Below we aim to highlight our initial commitment to sustainability, demonstrated by the key actions we have already taken in environmental, social and governance initiatives including the following:
West's Sustainability development Goals (SDG's)
Gender Equality (SDG5):
‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’
Gender Equality continues to gain prominence in shipping and insurance. Whilst there is still more to be done, West has a strong focus in this regard and we will look to build on our current positive position.
Decent Work & Economic Growth (SDG 8):
‘Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all’
We are fully focused on promoting decent work and economic growth in the marine industry and supporting the health and wellbeing of seafarers, to ensure sustainable economic growth. We provide our staff with a working environment that is characterised by dignity and respect.
Climate Action (SDG 13):
‘Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts’
We have an important part to play in encouraging and supporting our Members to take steps to reduce negative impacts on the environment. This will help drive the change required to protect our planet and provide a sustainable future for our industry.
Life Below Water (SDG 14):
‘Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development’
By continuing to provide our support, expertise and advice to our Members, we are promoting the protection of our marine environment and reducing marine casualties and pollution. Healthy oceans are crucial for the sustainability of our planet.
Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (SDG 16):
‘Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels’
We are committed to the promotion of ethical and anti-corruption business practices and transparent reporting. Ethical corporate governance and adherence to regulatory requirements will help to ensure an equitable, peaceful and sustainable industry.
Climate change is understandably the key focal point, with a growing recognition of the need to curb mankind’s impact on the planet and prevent further damaging rises in average global temperature. It is positive to see that the maritime industry has already embraced this in all sectors of our business, especially the IMO initiatives around limiting the amount of greenhouse gases produced by ships.
West provides guidance and advice to Members to encourage a reduction in their environmental footprint. Our Neptune system - a situational awareness tool for Members and their brokers - provides voyage-critical information, including a bunker quality advisory service, a global view of continental and oceanic weather data, maritime security charts, major storm systems and a wealth of other data and information to help Member’s optimise their voyage planning and execution.
Our Loss Prevention team is a key component of the West’s service, providing support, expertise and guidance to our Members through seminars and training programmes, audits and, most importantly in this area, condition surveys which are conducted as part of West’s continued efforts to maintain and improve ship standards.
West is proud to have industry-leading experts on pollution, who advise Members on all aspects of pollution prevention as well as delivering effective claims handing services to help minimise damage to the environment following an oil spillage. The Club regularly engages with industry groups to promote better shipping practices - including the IG’s Sustainability Committee and the BIMCO Marine Environment Committee – as well as working alongside the other IG Clubs to engage industry and governments on all aspects of pollution prevention and claims handling.
As part of our commitment to minimising West’s environmental impact, the Club recently moved to a new, more sustainable Head Office building in London, with ongoing building performance improvements and energy saving opportunities being pursued through the work of the building Energy Management Team. We also have in-house recycling and waste reduction initiatives in place.
Staff travel will be kept to a minimum and greater use of video conferencing technology made in future, to help balance how we keep in contact with our Members and maintain the deep relationships with them that are at the heart of our business.
We are also proud of our long-term charity programme, where we have committed to long-term partnerships with the Blue Marine Foundation to protect the Namibian Islands’ Marine Protected Area (NIMPA) Project, as well as funding a seagoing science bursary with the National Oceanography Centre to ensure that future generations can continue to focus on these important issues.
West is fully focused on our social responsibilities to both our Members and our staff. We believe that this should be a key priority of the Club.
The Club provides training, support and guidance to our Members via our expanding Loss Prevention team on seafarer health and welfare, which includes regular publications promoting physical and mental well-being on board. We also proud of our long-term commitment to the Sailors’ Society and specifically their ‘Wellness at Sea’ initiative, partnering with them to support seafarers all over the world. In addition, we continue to support more local charity events, including sponsoring two community projects, “Symplefsi” in Greece and “Feeding Hong Kong”.
The Club ensures our Members meet their responsibilities under the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) by providing financial security for certain obligations to abandoned seafarers and to those who are ill or injured.
We have been supporting our staff whilst working from home during the global pandemic, with priority on ensuring any staff experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress receives the support and assistance they or their family require. As part of this process, we have also offered flexible working where appropriate and ensured a comprehensive health and safety policy is in place across all our offices globally.
We are working to ensure gender balance across the Club, with the current ratio 54% female and 46% male employees underlining our commitment to equality.
West is committed to the promotion of ethical business practices and to providing a working environment that is characterised by dignity and respect for all our staff. We work closely with all our commercial partners to help ensure we all work to these common standards.
We have had whistleblowing and bribery and corruption policies are in place for some time, encouraging a culture where wrongdoing can be addressed quickly and ensuring that our business is conducted transparently and with integrity.
The Club is also actively engaged in helping our Members manage the impact of sanctions on their trades, with regular updates and information via our website and Neptune as well as the provision of individual advice on demand. Like all other IG Clubs, we deploy AIS tracking of vessels in certain areas that are a particularly high sanctions risk, which assists us in identifying any sanctions breaches and enabling improved reporting to the regulatory authorities.
Looking to the Future
West is striving towards embedding sustainability into every aspect of its business and we look forward to building on the significant progress already made. We welcome the renewed focus and direction provided through our ESG team and the further development of our ESG framework to help us meet our objectives.
These are challenging but exciting and transformative times and we will continue to support our staff, Members and stakeholders in the global challenge to move to a more sustainable future.
Our ESG Committee
2020 saw the establishment of a long-term charity programme. We made initial commitments to three selected charities for 10 years’ financial support of the chosen activities and projects, as well as continuing our commitment to local charities through regional offices.
In September 2020, West launched it’s long-term charity program and made commitments of financial support to three select charities (National Oceanography Centre, Sailors’ Society and Blue Marine). We worked closely with each of them to initiate activities and projects that would make a real difference.
Our short video introduces you to the three selected charities and their initiatives which are focused on mental welfare, environmental protection and marine science education.
Sailors’ Society was founded in 1818 and is represented globally in 90 ports. The Society is dedicated to caring for merchant seafarers from around the world, irrespective of their country of origin. West has committed to long-term sponsorship of Sailors’ Society’s 'Wellness at Sea' coaching programme.
Sadly, in recent years there has been an increase in the number of crew facing mental health problems including depression and even suicide. Such health problems are often-overlooked and yet we all rely on crewmembers to deliver an essential service to the marine industry.
West believes that the “Wellness at Sea” programme not only supports the individual crewmember, but owners, managers and vessel operators who invest in the mental wellbeing of their crew will see direct benefits in the efficiency of their vessels and a reduction in accidents.
The Blue Marine Foundation is a UK based marine conservation charity, which brings knowledge and management skills to projects aimed at restoring health to the oceans. They have expertise in developing environmental management models that deliver conservation gains along with prosperity to the coastal communities.
West’s initial sponsorship is to support Blue Marine’s Namibian project where they are working with the Namibia Nature Foundation to develop a management plan for the Namibian Islands Marine Protected Area. This is the second largest declared marine protected area in Africa. This management plan will attract additional resources and help it reach its’ full potential as a marine reserve where species can recover in a protected environment.
The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in Southampton England is one of the world’s top Oceanographic research centres and plays an important role in the education and training of future generations of scientists attracting students from many nations, fostering the promotion of excellence through training and research.
West is pleased to announce the establishment of the Seagoing Science Bursary in collaboration with NOC. The bursary has been set up to enable students and early career scientists, or those from developing countries who are keen to become involved in the field of marine science or oceanography, to gain practical experience of ship borne science. The bursary will be managed by the NOC over the next ten years, and will enable the recipients to join sea going expeditions on the NOC’s two world-class research vessels the RRS James Cook and RRS Discovery, as well as other vessels involved in its research projects.
West views this as a vital opportunity to assist the future ocean scientists in a vital step in their education.
Community at West
West’s office in Greece has been actively supporting Symplefsi a local charity founded in 2014 by a team of doctors, nurses and other volunteers whose mission is to provide easy access to a range of doctors to the inhabitants of remote Greek islands .
They also invest in infrastructure projects and educational material for schools. In the past 6 years Symplefsi has carried out more than 4,000 medical examinations including ultrasounds, spirometry tests, cardiographs, biopsies and Pap smear tests.
Symplefsi has also inaugurated numerous infrastructure projects , improving the standard of living of local residents. Every Aegean mission also includes various cultural events which help keep alive local and national traditions.
The Club has been supporting Symplefsi with an annual donation towards the purchase of educational, technological and recreational equipment for the local schools and teachers’ in these remote communities.
Feeding Hong Kong’s mission is to reduce food waste and to bring food from where it is plentiful to where there is a need. The charity rescues food from producers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers - food that is still good and safe to eat, but would otherwise go to waste.
They supply food to local charities running community programmes - their partners include senior centres, crisis shelters, central kitchens, after school programmes and food banks.
In addition, they educate Hong Kong about better managing food as a resource and run training and education initiatives to drive change in the community. There are regular Food Drives organised for collection of direct donations of nutrient packed canned goods, as well as dried goods for storage in and distribution from the Feeding Hong Kong warehouse.
West was introduced a few years ago to the good work of Feeding Hong Kong by our friends at Latitude Brokers. Together we organise an annual informal gathering around the West office Christmas tree to encourage donations from our colleagues in the shipping industry. In addition our regular ongoing support for Feeding Hong Kong, as part of West’s 150th anniversary charity programme, we are pleased to announce a commitment by West to make an annual donation for three years to the annual Dragon Drive, which will be equivalent to provision of 5,000 meals annually.