“If we identified and embraced diversity and inclusion sooner, one can only begin to imagine how much more advanced our industry could be.” Heidi Heseltine, Co-Founder, Diversity Study Group
The Diversity Study Group, the first ever survey and study to explore levels of diversity and inclusion across the shipping industry, issued a rallying call for greater diversity and inclusion during a lively panel discussion hosted during London International Shipping Week (LISW).
Addressing a packed room of industry executives, Heidi Heseltine, Co-Founder of the Diversity Study Group, chaired the debate ‘Diversity in Shipping – why now?’. The discussion spanned a wide range of topics, including the importance of timely and meaningful action on diversity and inclusion, the significance of the sector’s current emphasis on gender diversity, and shipping’s readiness to attract and retain a diverse talent pool.
Held at the offices of Watson Farley & Williams, the debate included input from panellists Jenny Barrow, a diversity and inclusion consultant, Mark Stokes, director, BLUE Communications, Holly McLauren, HR Business Partner at Peninsula Petroleum, and Aideen O’Driscoll, Director, Human Resources at Ardmore Shipping Corporation.
Commenting on the debate and its takeaways, Heidi Heseltine said:
“It was hugely encouraging to host such a well-attended and dynamic debate on diversity and inclusion in shipping industry. We strongly believe diversity presents a huge opportunity for shipping. When implemented in the right way, with performance measured by accurate data and clearly defined benchmarks, the evidence is clear: greater diversity will lead to a much more innovative and profitable future for the shipping industry.
“However, we must not underestimate the challenge ahead or the time that it will take to deliver meaningful change. The shipping industry is at the beginning of its diversity and inclusion journey. This is a process that will take considerable time, as well as careful measurement and management. All support for this important cause is welcome but good intentions are not enough. Real action requires clear, well thought-through company policies and processes. The Diversity Study Group is here to support organisations that want to take these next steps.”
The LISW event followed the widely welcomed launch in July of the Diversity Study Group, a study which will provide members with detailed analysis of global diversity and inclusion statistics for their own organisations and allow them to benchmark against anonymised data of other participants. Ardmore Shipping and Peninsula Petroleum are among the first organisations to sign up the initiative.
To discuss how membership of shipping’s first ever study on diversity and inclusion could benefit your business, please get in touch.