Singapore Port Authority creates sustainability reporting guide

The handbook follows the launch of the sustainability reporting rules by the Singapore Exchange in 2016

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has launched what it says is the first sector-specific maritime sustainability reporting guide.

Spurred by industry calls for an effective reporting framework, the 72-page guide includes best practices for creating a sustainability report for listed and non-listed maritime companies.

The guide, developed with partners including the Singapore Exchange (SGX), Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS), and Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA), follows SGX’s sustainability reporting rules introduced in 2016.

The rules require companies to produce a compulsory annual sustainability report whose content is prescribed on a ‘comply or explain’ basis.

The maritime sector is seen as an important player in curbing environmental threats, with the International Maritime Organsization (IMO) adopting an initial strategy to reduce the total annual greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping by at least 50% by 2050.

In 2011, the MPA also established the Maritime Singapore Green Initiative with a pledge of S$100m to promote green initiatives including greener ships, ports and encouraging companies to use cleaner fuels.

However, the MPA guide warns there has been an increasing need to address sustainability risks within the operations of maritime business.

It warns that global warming may affect ocean currents, sea levels and increase climate risks, whereby supply chains could be adversely affected. Urgent government action could also lead to dramatic changes to business, the guide states.

The guide outlines four key steps for companies to develop a maritime sustainability report, including governance and stakeholder engagement; identifying material matters; disclosure of sustainability policies, practices and targets; and data collection and compilation.

“The process of writing the sustainability report represents a thorough review of the organisation’s strategy map which allows gaps to be identified and opportunities to be realised,” Yvonne Chan, director for corporate development at MPA, said.

“The degree of success hinges much on the appointment of a strong advocate to lead the initiative whose values align with that of the sustainability principles,” she commented.

Goh Swee Chen, president of GCNS, added: “Sustainability reporting for the maritime industry is especially pertinent given the IMO 2020 low sulphur regulation.

“The salient value of the sustainability reporting process lies in its ability to ensure that organizations consider and disclose the impacts of their business practices, including consideration of longer-term opportunities and risks,” Chen added.