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The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility in the Shipping Industry
A Research Collaboration between the Liu Institute for Global Issues and the Nippon Foundation.

Phase 1 Research: 2012 Review
In early 2012, the Nippon Foundation (NF) and the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia (UBC) collaborated on a review of evolving trends in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and their relevance to the international shipping industry. This review confirmed that in recent years there has been a rise in voluntary CSR standards and initiatives that address social, environmental and governance responsibilities in the maritime sector. Based on emerging trends in CSR practice in the shipping sector, this initial review also proposed for consideration a draft of key components in a high level CSR framework to assist shipping industry associations and companies interested in further integrating CSR principles and business strategies into their operations. A stakeholder consultation held in late 2012 on these research findings recommended that a comparison be conducted between the proposed CSR framework and relevant international regulatory requirements in the shipping sector and that further feedback be obtained from industry stakeholders. 

Phase 1 Paper
A copy of the April 2012 Phase I review paper is available here.

Phase 1 Stakeholder Consultation
A summary of key discussion points at the October 2012 Stakeholder Consultation on the Phase 1 review is available here.

Phase 2 Research: 2013 Gaps and Opportunities
In mid-2013, the Nippon Foundation and the Liu Institute initiated a second phase in this project. The Phase 2 research involved:

  • Analysis of gaps and convergences in voluntary and regulatory initiatives on sustainability issues in the maritime sector; and
  • Interviews to obtain feedback from shipping industry representatives on the draft CSR framework tool and the role CSR can play in advancing improved coordination and outcomes between private and public sector activities on sustainability performance.

The consultation and analysis led to the final version of a CSR in Shipping framework tool for shipping companies, their customers and investors and the associations which represent them to use in developing CSR strategies and managing CSR impacts. 

Phase 2 Paper
A copy of the Phase 2 report is available here.

CSR in Shipping Framework
A copy of the final CSR in Shipping Framework tool is available here.

Shipping Industry Stakeholder Map
A Shipping Industry Stakeholder Map was developed to identify key stakeholders to interview.  A copy of the stakeholder map is available here.

2013 Northern European Conference on CSR in Shipping
Key findings from the Phase 2 project were presented in November 2013 to a symposium in Denmark on CSR in the shipping industry. The symposium was sponsored by the Nippon Foundation, the Japanese International Transport Institute (JITI), the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), the World Maritime University (WMU) and the Danish Shipowners’ Association (DSA). More information on this event is available here.

CSR in Shipping Presentation
A copy of the presentation to the 2013 Northern European Conference on CSR in Shipping is available here.

Project Contact
For further information on this research project and follow-up research activities please contact:
Dr. Jane Lister
Senior Research Fellow, Liu Institute

Background on the Nippon Foundation
The Nippon Foundation is an international non-profit organization engaged in a wide variety of activities around the world that support education, coastal and ocean sustainability, and humanitarian causes such as public health and disaster relief. It also promotes CSR in various industrial sectors. The current chairman of the Nippon Foundation is Dr. Yohei Sasakawa, World Health Organization Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination. The Foundation’s International Maritime Program works with leading research organizations, national governments, NGOs and business to promote development of the human capacity that will be required to maintain the health and security of coastal communities and the ocean ecosystems that support them.  For more information:

Background on the Liu Institute for Global Issues
Named after Dr. Jieh Jow Liou and founded by Professor Ivan Head in 2000, the Liu Institute for Global Issues acts as a hub for global research and emerging issues at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The Institute conducts and facilitates research on global issues, mobilizing knowledge into solutions and policy. It takes an interdisciplinary problem-solving approach to exploring new ideas and ways of learning to catalyze innovative thinking and positive societal change. The Liu Institute’s current focus is on advancing sustainability, security, and social justice: understood as moving toward economic, social, and environmental interactions that promote the well-being of people in ways that are just, equitable, and sustainable. For more information:

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