Sustainability in Maritime: Driving Impact through Action and AI

Press Review

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This article was published in Edition 105 of Port Technology in 2021.

In 2019, INFORM undertook the ambitious step of embracing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UN SDGs challenge companies to replace profit maximization with a multifactor success model that adds "people" and "planet" to the traditional "profit" success factor. We were challenged to assess how we were, or could, contribute to the 17 SDGs. This challenge kicked off what has now been a two-year journey assessing our impact in the maritime sector.

In 2019, we launched our first diversity initiative. In 2020, we brought innovation to the intermodal industry to drive environmental impact and launched initiatives designed to help educate children as well as help foster gender equality in maritime. And, as 2021 kicks off, we've completed research into understanding how four more of our AI-based optimization modules drive environmental sustainability for terminal operators.

This paper will look at INFORM's sustainability work across four of the SDGs: No. 4 – Quality Education, No. 5 – Gender Equality, No. 9 – Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, and No. 13 – Climate Action. They are separated by the same headings, with the first three sections looking at various initiatives we've undertaken over the past two years. If you want to cut to the chase and understand how to reduce your costs while simultaneously driving down your carbon footprint, then jump to No. 13 – Climate Action; in it, we detail how four more of our optimizers drive environmental sustainability.



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No. 4 – Quality Education

In 2020, challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic and a lack of products in supermarkets across the globe, we created our Logistics@Home self-learning pack to help children understand how the global supply chain worked. This learn-at-home resource has been made available in two languages with thousands of downloads to date, proving that interest in understanding the way goods are moved around the world is high. Our children are our future, and this initiative is helping children worldwide understand the logistics industry, of which maritime and intermodal operations serve a crucial role.



No. 5 – Gender Equality

The fifth SDG focuses on gender equality. At INFORM, we have expanded this to a broader scope of diversity in all of its forms. In 2019, we kicked off the industry's first age diversity initiative, Millennials in Maritime, at TOC Europe. In it, we provided a platform for millennial-aged speakers to come together and contribute to the industry's knowledge base. We continued this program in 2020 and are committed to bringing it back to this year's TOC Europe event again.


In 2020, we also kicked off our gender diversity initiative, Women in Maritime, through a series of one-on-one interviews with women from across the maritime world. With voices from the terminal sector such as Katja Otten from AMPT, Susan Gardner from GPA, and Swantje Finke from HHLA, as well as a host of guests from the broader maritime industry, including Anne Trolle from Danish Shipping, Jennifer Sommer from HPC, and Heidi Heseltine, founder of the Diversity Study Group. This initiative has reaffirmed our original decision to expand gender equality to diversity equality. We've also committed to expanding this program with additional interviews being released monthly throughout 2021, a live conference event at TOC Europe, and industry partnerships.




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