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ESG reporting framework to aid tanker access to finance and talent

8 July 2022
Credit: Pixabay

As public, customer and investor demands increase for evidence of sustainability efforts, tanker operators are recognising the needs for clear and comparable reporting of environmental and social governance (ESG). The challenge has been taken up by tanker operator association Intertanko, which has developed a standardised ESG reporting framework for the sector.

The framework, along with guiding principles, mapping tools and a dedicated web resource, are outcomes of a project between several of working groups (including environmental, commercial, human element and safety committees). That involvement highlights both the scope of issues covered and the complexity of developing a standardised framework.

“The industry is aligned on ESG being important but not on why we’re doing it,” explained Intertanko Deputy Managing Director Tim Wilkins. “For larger companies, the reasons are primarily driven by large scale stake-holder interest and investment, but smaller companies are less likely to operate under those assumptions.”

The framework draws on standards from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) as well as the tanker industry’s own standards and data. It aims to minimise administrative burden on operators by adopting a non-prescriptive approach that enables them to use the right metrics for their specific data and processes.

Engagement with trusted partners and acceptance by charterers, investors and regulators is crucial to the credibility of the new framework, said Wilkins. He argued that consistent reporting will help the public understand how opera-tors are striving towards better governance, with better public buy-in driving fundamental to securing successful recruitment and access to finance.

Tsakos Group Deputy Chairman Vassilis Papageorgiou, who is responsible for the tanker owner’s newbuilding programmes, fleet management and energy and environmental department, noted that a single reporting framework would help operators show how they are evolving to meet society’s expectations on social and environmental issues.

“Many companies are either in the process or have already used ESG principles to demonstrate their strategy and ambitions, but the industry lacks a single framework designed for the tanker sec-tor,” he said. “An ESG reporting standard is an important step in order to be able to provide a normalised framework and the guiding principles that will facilitate reporting in a consistent and comparable manner.”