The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has launched its inaugural Maritime Diversity and Inclusion Charter.
The launch has been made in conjunction with ICS’s International Women’s Day campaign #ThisIsWhataSeafarerLooksLike, celebrating and showcasing the broad roles women fulfill in the maritime sector from cadet to CEO. This year’s theme is #BreakTheBias, developed to challenge stereotypes across society.
The charter has been created to encourage shipping companies to improve and annually review their diversity and inclusion practices and create opportunities for all, irrespective of their gender, race, ethnic origin, nationality, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion.
In an indication that shipping still has a ways to go in meeting these objectives, the 2021 Seafarer Workforce Report notes that less than 2% of seafarers are women.
The charter was developed over 18 months, in partnership with the ICS Diversity Panel and Women’s Panel, made up of representatives from shipping companies, charities, and unions around the world, and has received input and support from the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF).
“I was one of the only women in the maritime sector when I joined at 23,” commented Karin Orsel, CEO of MF Shipping Group and Chair of the ICS Diversity Panel. “The industry has made many improvements since then, but it still has a long way to go. We developed the Maritime Diversity and Inclusion Charter as a guiding light to inspire shipping companies to do better for all employees.”
ICS says the charter is designed to be a customizable online tool for shipping companies. Users can choose from a number of actions, pledges, and monitoring and reporting metrics that they are prepared to undertake.
For example, companies can commit to appointing a lead on diversity to provide visibility and drive key actions or to track promotion opportunities given to monitored groups defined by age, gender or ethnicity.
ICS plans to release its Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit for Shipping later this year to guide industry’s journey improving policies and practices to meet the needs of the diverse seafarer community.