Celebrating World Environment and Oceans Days: Sustainability includes the Blue Planet!

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Nadine Robinson, Technical Adviser – Environmental Sustainability

Today marks the 46th year of celebrating World Environment Day.  The interconnected nature of environment, economy and society is more apparent than ever as we face the global challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since joining the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) three weeks ago, I have been engaging with members about the steps that they are taking and their emerging plans for ensuring environmental sustainability across their businesses.  They have kindly shared their progress towards helping to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, recognising that environmental sustainability is only one element of broader sustainability that must be considered in tandem with economic and social dimensions.  I look forward to further dialogue with IMCA members and other partner organisations to discuss how we can collectively move forward the environmental sustainability agenda in the offshore marine contracting industry.

So today marks a perfect occasion to highlight what various IMCA members have been doing on environmental sustainability.  Practical and innovative measures by members include:

  • using software to create a historical baseline for a vessel’s operational modes to identify measures to increase fuel efficiency under different scenarios and reduce carbon footprints; exploring the use of sustainable biofuels to help achieve carbon dioxide reductions;
  • delivering a data-driven eco-operations programme focused on increasing operational energy efficiency across a fleet of vessels;
  • embracing the use of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) as a marine fuel, e.g. through engineering of a heavy lift vessel with a dual-fuel system;
  • assessing onboard equipment to determine the probability of an oil spill or release of hazardous substances, and mapping their findings to enable implementation of prevention and mitigation measures; and
  • piloting food waste reduction programmes on vessels to reduce supply chain footprints;

The UN has chosen biodiversity as the theme for this year’s World Environment celebrations.  Protecting, conserving and sustainably using biodiversity and marine ecosystems is a crucial facet of environmental sustainability.  The offshore marine contracting industry can also play an important role in this area.  For example, use of subsea bubble curtains can reduce the noise generated by underwater hammers used during pile driving and the associated impacts on marine biodiversity and ecosystems. Moreover, with increasing attention paid to the impacts of plastics on marine biodiversity and ecosystems, some members have taken steps to reduce or eliminate single use plastics across fleets.  For example, this has entailed developing a bespoke approach for each vessel or facility, and adopting a range of measures such as using reusable drinking water bottles, installing water dispensers, and use of reusable barrier chains and washable boot covers.

The international focus on environmental sustainability continues into next week with World Oceans Day on Monday June 8th.  World Oceans Day aims to heighten awareness of the vital importance of our oceans and the role they play in sustaining a healthy planet.  There are calls from across the globe to “build better” for the future and resilience has been at the heart of charting our new normal.  The blue planet must also be at the centre of these efforts, and it therefore not surprising that on World Oceans Day there is a call to action for world leaders to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.  Offshore marine contractors have already shown their willingness and initiatives to play their part in charting the course for a more sustainable and resilience future.

Read about Nadine:

Nadine Robinson Technical Adviser - Environmental Sustainability

Nadine joined IMCA as Technical Adviser in May 2020. She leads our environmental sustainability strategy and related programme of member engagement on a global level.

Nadine brings a wealth of experience to IMCA having held positions as Technical Director (Climate Disclosure Standards Board in CDP), as an Environmental Consultant, Environmental Policy Lecturer (Birkbeck College), Economic Advisor on Climate Change (Commonwealth Secretariat), Shipping Finance Solicitor (Allen & Overy). She has also held various policy and research roles in Government and UNDP advising on environment, climate finance, energy, the green and blue economy, and sustainable development.

Nadine holds a BA (McGill University) and an MA (York University, Canada) in Geography.