“Confidence in the shipping industry actually dipped slightly towards the end of last year, but that was against a four-year high recorded in first-half 2018,” writes Richard Greiner, a partner in the firm’s Shipping & Transport team. “There remains an appetite for investment in shipping from both new and existing players. That is likely to continue in 2019 so long as shipping lives up to its ESG responsibilities.”
Greiner’s remarks on the importance of ESG standards echo those made by Tony Foster, CEO/CIO of Marine Capital Limited, speaking at a Maritime London/IMIF seminar in mid-November last year.
Foster said that the criteria for institutional investment – for example by Australian pension funds – in shipping had “changed completely over the past 12 months”, marking the most dramatic change he had witnessed in his 20 years of experience in ship investment and finance.
ESG policies demonstrating a shipping company’s environmental standards and approach, awareness of social impact and concerns, and governance standards were now the sine qua non for institutional investors, he said.
Foster quoted an array of newspaper headlines from 2018 showing examples of how large investors were now prepared to forego purely commercial returns in order to prioritise ESG-related issues. Typical was the remark by the head of sustainable and impact investing at UBS, quoted on Barrons.com, that “Climate has really become the No. 1 topic in the institutional world.”