As the maritime industry focuses more and more on sustainability and all that it entails, mental and physical wellbeing included, we wanted to reach out to someone who is setting the bar high on sustainable business practices.
One such person is Nico De Golia, who leads Crowley’s sustainability environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy as its global sustainability and corporate citizenship director to harness investment opportunity while helping the company ensure its relevance into 2026 and beyond, across all business units. By bringing together diverse stakeholders and data driven solutions, De Golia drives Crowley’s ESG performance and enriches lives through innovative solutions, technologies and strategies done right.
He previously worked with the transport and logistics industry to advance more sustainable, climate-resilient, and inclusive operations through collaborative initiatives and research at Business for Social Responsibility.
In this Q&A, De Golia clearly defines Crowley’s approach to sustainability and how health and wellness fit into the larger sustainable picture.
Marine Log (ML): How does Crowley define sustainability?
Nico De Golia (NDG): At Crowley, our ambition is to become the most sustainable and innovative maritime and logistics solutions provider in the Americas by 2025. We define sustainability as our way of working to ensure Crowley provides the same people-centric, planet-conscious solutions today to future generations through a focus on the effective management of relevant environmental, social, and governance issues.
ML: A commitment to sustainability necessitates having explicit values and goals. What are the specific sustainability values that Crowley prioritizes?
NDG: At Crowley, everything we do serves our purpose, which is “Enriching Lives Through Innovative Solutions Done Right.” This commitment guides who we are, our culture, and our shared sense of responsibility towards the creation of long-term value for all members of our organization and stakeholders. Fulfilling this purpose requires us to make every facet of our organization sustainable—that includes environmental, social and governance factors of how we act. To help us better understand our impact, Crowley this year undertook an assessment to determine the most material sustainability issues in our organization—engaging with nearly 2,000 people across our organization and value chain. We will prioritize these issues both in terms of their importance to our stakeholders and to our ability to achieve our business priorities. The results of this analysis will be published along with our first ever sustainability report in early/mid-2022.
ML: You mentioned that Crowley aims to support the communities in which the company operates, through reducing negative impact and increasing positive impact. Can you give examples of any Crowley initiatives that attempt to achieve these two distinct goals?
NDG: Reducing the negative impacts of our operations and increasing the positive impacts of our business on society is core to who we are as an organization. For nearly 130 years, Crowley has been rising to the challenge of meeting the needs of communities around the globe to help them overcome their diverse challenges. And sustainability is no exception. To reduce our negative impacts, we have been heavily investing in new technologies that reduce both climate and local air emissions such as our Commitment Class ConRo ships, some of the first liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered, combination container and Roll-On/Roll-Off (ConRo) ships in the world, and the a zero emissions eWolf—slated to be the first all-electric powered harbor tugboat in the U.S. that can complete a job without expending a drop of fuel.
To increase our positive impacts on society, we created a new benefit through our Crowley Cares program for all of our full-time administrative employees around the globe: a paid volunteer time off (VTO) policy that provides up to 16 hours of paid leave when you volunteer during business hours to give our people the time and space they need to make positive impacts in our communities. These hours can be used by an employee to support causes they care about, from beach cleanups to homeless, and everything in between.
ML: Can you talk about the way in which sustainability intersects with, and encompasses, health and wellness? Additionally, can you tell us about the link between volunteerism and health and wellness, as facilitated by Crowley initiatives?
NDG: In order for our company to be sustainable, our employees need to be happy and healthy—this is an imperative in any high-performance organization. Crowley’s wellness program offers tools and resources to promote a healthy lifestyle and workplace culture that nurtures all dimensions of wellness—mental, physical, financial and more. These resources include strong healthcare coverage, mental health services, financial planning assistance, employee assistance programs and related services.
ML: Are any of Crowley’s current sustainability initiatives focused on mental health and wellness? Additionally, how have you seen inclusion and diversity play an integral part of employee health and wellness, whether mental or physical?
NDG: In addition to our wellness program, Crowley takes a leading role in our industry’s efforts to ensure the psychological safety of all of our employees, at sea or in administrative roles. The diversity of thought, experience, culture, attitude, and background brought forth by our teams allows us to develop unique, innovative solutions for our customers and keeps us at the forefront of our industry. This is why we have created employee resource groups reflecting many of the gender, race, ethnicity and backgrounds—such as veterans and early career team members—under our Inclusion, Diversity and Equity in Action (IDEA) – Council. These employee-led groups and programs foster an inclusive culture that is honest to our values—one that attracts the best talent, champions diversity of experiences and inclusion of perspectives while encouraging innovation.
ML: How does Crowley’s sustainable initiatives compare to the overall industry’s concern for and devotion to sustainability? What makes Crowley’s approach to sustainability innovative?
NDG: Crowley’s ambition on sustainability is second to none in the maritime and logistics space in the Americas. What differentiates us is our forward-looking focus, stakeholder-driven approach to help inform areas of focus, and holistic efforts across the various environmental, social and governance areas of focus with transparency and accountability.