CSR Activities in Maritime and Shipping Industries

CSR Activities in Maritime and Shipping Industries

Erdem Akkan (Mersin University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7715-7.ch016
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In today's global business, customers, governments, and international organizations are more sensitive to environmental (such as oil spills, explosions) and ethical (such as sexual harassment at office, child labor, labor safety) issues caused by business activities. The shipping industry seems to be a “usual suspect” because of comparatively big potential environmental risk taken. Corporate social responsibility (CSR), which is simply defined as adopting continuously responsible business activities to customers, public, and environment, is a helpful tool to achieve many business outcomes such as increased revenue, sales, or firm reputation. This chapter explores CSR in the maritime and shipping industries.
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The shipping industry, which is responsible for global transportation of cargo and passengers for commercial purposes, deals with about 90% of global trade (ICS, 2017:12). This huge proportion causes the industry indispensable for business and also urges it to be more responsible. Furthermore, the business environment for shipping companies has significantly changed, due to increased awareness and pressure from various stakeholders for quality services (Fafaliou et al., 2006:413). The importance and extensity of this industry caused it to be a ‘usual suspect’ mostly, because of the comparatively big potential environmental risks taken in it.

Maritime industry is, in a sense, inevitable, as Hamad (2015:1) asserts, without shipping, the import/export of affordable food and goods would not be possible: half the world would starve and the other half would freeze. But, it is also a very risky business. Until 10.8 million gallon oil spilled from the Exxon Valdez oil tanker into the Gulf of Alaska in March 1989, probably no one could imagine how risky it was. While Exxon spent more than $2.5 billion for only cleanup costs afterwards, the spill resulted in too many irretrievable outcomes, including the death of 250,000 birds, 2,800 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 250 bald eagles, up to 22 killer whales, and billions of salmon and herring eggs. Although the spill is not the largest ever, it is still widely considered the number one spill worldwide in terms of damage to the environment. With around $7 billion of total cost, the Exxon Case is considered the largest punitive fines ever handed out to a company for corporate irresponsibility (Fadul, 2004:5). As the wreckages of some recent massive environmental catastrophes (e.g. Exxon Valdez, Deepwater Horizon) become clear, the maritime industry practices attract much more public attention. In this aspect, the maritime business must be accountable and responsible.

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