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IMCA’s Environmental Sustainability Code is making its mark.

Published on 17 November 2021

Nadine Robinson, Technical Adviser on Environmental Sustainability explains how the International Marine Contractors Association’s (IMCA) Recommended Code of Practice on Environmental Sustainability is making its mark globally.

Take “a series of small steps and eventually you can have something that will make an impact” said Adventurer and CEO of Open Ocean Robotics, Julie Angus, who delivered the keynote address at IMCA’s late September virtual seminar on Environmental Sustainability for which over 200 had registered. Taking carefully planned steps is just what we have been doing, first to create and then spread the word about our Recommended Code of Practice on Environmental Sustainability; that work is set to continue month after month; and year after year for this is a long-term project. The Code sets expectations on our industry to manage key environmental and climate-related topics associated with offshore marine construction.

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Nadine Robinson
Technical Adviser – Environmental Sustainability
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IMCA started its environmental sustainability journey with its members four years ago. I was appointed in May 2020 to bring vision to action, working with members of the Environmental Sustainability Committee (ESC) to develop a strategic environmental roadmap, culminating in the launch of the Code in May this year. It was certainly no mean feat to achieve such a milestone during a global pandemic; but with momentum accelerating towards the energy transition, it is clear that environmental sustainability must be treated as a mainstream business imperative for long-term value creation; and we needed to be ahead of the curve. We launched with both the full 42 page Code and the briefer ‘At A Glance’ document, ideal for members to share with clients when explaining why they are adhering to the recommendations and the practical steps they have already taken.

Feedback from our 2021 membership survey reinforced that we were on the right track in emphasising the importance of environmental sustainability and the energy transition. Almost 90% confirmed that was critical or very important in IMCA’s strategy; and more than four-fifths acknowledged their client base is increasingly using environmental sustainability in evaluating contractors and suppliers. This enthusiasm for the work we were undertaking spurred us on.

August saw us launch a broadcast available below featuring and members of our ESC from McDermott International, Deep Ocean, Fugro, Heerema Marine Contractors, Subsea 7 and DOF, as well as Allen Leatt, IMCA’s CEO.

Our September seminar was a very definite milestone with speakers drawn from across the membership, which spans 65 countries and over 700 entities ranging from large publicly listed companies to small privately held companies: and from the Basque Centre for Climate Change, the Global Maritime Forum, VARD Engineering, KPMG Netherlands, the United Nations Global Compact and Duke University. Dedicated sessions, introduced by IMCA members over the three-and-a-half hours, considered emission reduction, energy management, the circular economy, supply chain engagement, life below water and reporting. Not only can the seminar be viewed ‘on-demand’, but a report on the seminar is available below.

Moving into October, we were invited to be involved in Dcarbonise Week’s ocean sustainability day; and in November Erik Bergh, HSEQS of DeepOcean and a member of our Committee will be talking on the Code at the Bergen International Diving Seminar. We’re not stopping there – there is much work to do to put this Code into practice around the globe across the industries we serve.

The seminar has provided the ESC with areas on which to concentrate within their work programme. The next major step is the release of a new self-assessment tool in 2022, currently being piloted by ESC members, to help users analyse and reflect on whether they are meeting the expectations of the Code; being able to measure, report and eventually benchmark will increasingly become vital.

It is apt to close with remarks made at the Seminar by Stig Clementsen, Chief Sustainability Officer at DOF and Chair of the ESC: “In the years to come we need to adhere to the Code and to demonstrate those results within our marine contracting industry. Doing this together, and sharing best practice is a strategy we believe in at IMCA.”

Those small steps are starting to turn into decent sized strides making their mark around the world. Email [email protected] if you would like to be part of a wider environmental sustainability network for our industry, where we can share knowledge and experiences.