A lot is changing globally, but I see great opportunities for individuals and companies in our industry. There is no better way to start the year than to give you seven actions to business success in 2022 and beyond.
This article is written by Rudi Stalmans and featured in the 2021 winter edition of Tank News International.
1. Adjust to the COVID-19 endemic
On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) received information about an unknown pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, China. Two years later, at the beginning of January 2022, there have been more than 305 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally, including around 5.48 million deaths. As of 8 January 2022, countries have administered 9,126,987,353 vaccine doses worldwide. While nations have adopted different strategies to contain the spread of COVID-19, there has been a failure to supply vaccines to people in poorer countries.
COVID-19 has impacted growth in most countries and set back many years of hard-won progress in vulnerable countries. Inadequate global collaboration is also one of the reasons for the lengthened pandemic. While this crisis has already divided many people and countries, the world seems to be moving toward deglobalization.
Since the virus seems not to be disappearing, start managing it as endemic. Society will make lifestyle changes that will one day become common.
2. Contribute to a carbon-neutral environment
2021 saw many severe weather events linked to climate change. Hurricane Ida, which hit the US in August, and flooding in Europe in July had a tremendous impact, while in many poor regions, floods and storms caused mass displacements of people and suffering.
On 13 November 2021, at the end of the COP26 UN Climate Conference, a consensus was reached by over 190 countries after two weeks of intense negotiations. COP26 resulted in the completion of the Paris Agreement rulebook and kept the Paris targets alive, offering a chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
While large corporations have an enormous role in climate change, we can all take small steps to make our planet a better place for our communities and future generations. Now it’s time for action that safeguards the planet and advances sustainability goals. There is still time to make a difference in protecting the planet and its people.
Take action and set sustainable development goals for business success in the areas where you can create the most value for the environment, society, and all stakeholders. To get started, discover the three sustainable development goals that every company in the liquid bulk and hazardous goods industry should have.
3. Find opportunities in the energy transition
We need to make a transition to a low-carbon energy future to reduce the risks of climate change, while on the other hand, we need to make sure that everyone on the globe has access to energy. Citizens in developed nations buy more electric cars, while many people in poorer countries do not have sufficient access to electricity. We need to cut emissions and rethink how energy is produced, distributed, and consumed.
But this is not a simple task. The International Energy Agency (IEA) in December 2021 reported that coal demand for power generation could reach a potential all-time high in 2022, underlining the urgent need for policy action.
An overhaul in shipping is taking place, with the industry putting a price tag on shipping emissions for the first time in 2021. The current energy transition is also coming with new opportunities for storage terminals. New alternatives for traditional fuels will drive new infrastructure solutions, including storage for hydrogen, ammonia, methanol, and other new products.
Major oil companies will play a crucial role in the energy transition and have considerable opportunities to create an impact. The chemical sector will focus on a low-carbon economy, resource efficiency, a circular economy, and care for people and the planet.
Start identifying how you can benefit from the exciting opportunities of the energy transition.
4. Make safety part of your sustainability goals
When we talk about health & safety, it is necessary to focus on people, the environment, assets, and reputation (PEAR). According to the 2021 Workplace Safety Index published by Liberty Mutual Insurance, from back injuries to broken bones, the top 10 causes of workplace injuries cost U.S. businesses more than US$1 billion a week. In case of accidents, there can be various other costs related to containment, cleanup, and damages resulting from a release. Ensuring safe operations, with care for the environment and in full accordance with regulations, is of essential importance for the image and reputation of the industry and the sustainability of a business. Mounting a successful crisis response plan covering activation, communication, information management, and decision making is crucial.
Pick Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to act in your approach to sustainability. To select your SDGs, you can focus on a safe working environment, preventing pollution, durable infrastructure, and the energy transition, for example. Safety should always be at the top of your list, and HSEQ training for all employees and stakeholders is required.
5. Improve your supply chain resilience
There was extensive coverage about the Suez Canal blockage in 2021 when container vessel capacity and equipment were already tight with port congestions, low sailing frequencies, container shortages, and elevated freight. This event stressed a strained supply chain and affected global businesses from domestic transport providers to retailers, supermarkets, and manufacturers.
At the end of 2021, vessel availability within Asia became tight, and freight rates on certain vessels increased dramatically because of major port congestions in China and higher bunker prices. COVID-19 restrictions requiring pilots to wear protective clothing and go into quarantine after each job seemingly caused these berth congestions. That resulted in a shortage of qualified pilots, very long delays for ships in Chinese ports, and ship owners avoiding congested Chinese ports or postponing sailings. While this happened in China, it affected the global supply chain.
These examples show the need for a resilient supply chain. So, develop greater visibility over your supply chain to find areas for improvement, achieve greater efficiency, reduce the chances of disruption, and stay competitive.
6. Create a digital edge for growth and business success
During the pandemic, many employees have been reviewing their career options. While employers are finding ways to respond, the growing talent shortage accelerates the digital transformation. A more digitalized future will result in growth, and companies with a digital edge will have an advantage.
Assemble an experienced team and start using technology to put yourself ahead of the competition. The automated tanker vessel clearing tool and digitized ISGOTT 6 Ship/Shore Safety Check List are examples of valuable innovations.
7. Be happy
Finally, my favorite recommendation is to focus on health and happiness. For business success, you need to create a good working environment and be happy!
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