Prioritising global goals

 Prioritising global goals

The Port of Grenaa intensifies its efforts for the community

To the Port of Grenaa, assuming responsibility for the community has always been of fundamental value, and now the Port is about to strengthen its CSR profile further by focusing on sustainability and the UN’s 17 global goals.

Social responsibility is a major part of the Port of Grenaa’s DNA – not least because the port, which is owned by the Norddjurs Municipality, is a public company. So Henrik Carstensen, CEO of the Port of Grenaa, states while overviewing the many activities in the port area.

“The Port of Grenaa is a publicly owned joint-stock company; this is the reason why we feel extra committed to assuming social responsibility – it has never been a matter of the bottom line figures alone,” Henrik Carstensen says.

A source of inspiration for other companies

Next to him, the Port’s CFO, Kirsten Hvid Schmidt, adds:

“We also make every effort to inspire other companies to assume responsibility when it comes to helping the weakest people of society, protecting the environment or contributing to the development of the community.”

As an example, they state that the Port of Grenaa is now deeply involved in Norddjurs Municipality’s social project, recruitment for the port, which is supposed to help long-term unemployed people re-enter the labour market in one of the 62 companies located in the port area. And the Port of Grenaa does more than merely accept long-term unemployed people themselves, Henrik Carstensen says:

“I have worked determinedly to open the doors to private companies at the port for the municipal consultants and already now, eight long-term unemployed persons have been offered light duties and flexible jobs as a result of the project. I think that our efforts of recruiting for the port nicely demonstrate the responsibility we feel.”

Intensifying its efforts for the community

Now, the Port of Grenaa has decided to intensify its CSR efforts. The port has started a process which shall lead to an “ambitious and clearly defined CSR policy with great focus on sustainability and the 17 UN global goals”. We do so for several reasons, Kirsten Hvid Schmidt tells us:

First of all, because we want to and because we can. In recent years, we have developed and become a financially stronger and more well-run company; this has given us the surplus of resources to give higher priority to our efforts for the world around us. At the same time, companies’ CSR profiles have become a more potent competitive parameter which plays an increasingly crucial role for attracting customers, business partners, employees and investors.”

Prioritising global goals

Henrik Carstensen adds:
“This development has been strengthened by the UN’s 17 global goals, which companies have to incorporate in the CSR policy in order to remain competitive. We can see already now that our national as well as our international customers focus on it. At the same time, the global goals are completely in line with the social responsibility the Port of Grenaa wants to be known for and, right now, we are discussing which global goals we wish to support for a start. Should I mention a single one, it could be goal number 17 about partnerships. I find it incredibly important to think of partnerships in order to promote sustainability and health for our globe and its population.”

Already a strong CSR profile

The Port of Grenaa had a strong CSR profile already before achieving its goal in the process of assuming an even bigger social responsibility. This is the conclusion of an external consultant’s report – which also listed a large number of social and environmental actions instigated by the port to the benefit of the surrounding community and its citizens.

The CFO names a few examples:

“It is important for us to give people outside the labour market a chance. Therefore, we always have two welfare recipients in on-the-job training. We also feel a great responsibility for offering young people a footing on the labour market; this is the reason that we have two apprentices among our work force of only twenty. Moreover, the Port of Grenaa is a leading force when it comes to environmental sustainability. We prioritise recovery and circular economy and offer, more than any other Danish commercial port, environmental on-shore electricity to ships and drilling platforms. Finally, we have established a House of Sustainability where companies sharing the values of sustainability and motive force will be creating the basis for green business development on Djursland in future decades. All of these initiatives support our ambition to become Denmark’s greenest commercial port,” says Kirsten Hvid Schmidt.

New recycling quay

Henrik Carstensen mentions another example of how the Port prioritises sustainability:

“The new quay we are building is based 100 % on the principles of circular economy. It is made with recycled, slightly polluted earth, which would otherwise have been taken to a landfill. Also, the concrete we use is recycled concrete from old concrete railway sleepers from the Langå-Hobro railway. The lorries transporting the recycled earth and sleepers start out from the port, driving crushed stone to the Langå-Hobro railway. Thus, we also ensure that the lorries do not at any time drive with empty truck beds – this also makes transportation sustainable. Finally, it meant that the making of the quay was much cheaper than it would have been if we had done it in the traditional way without regard for sustainability. We therefore believe that our quay project holds many inspirational values for other ports and companies.”

Kirsten Hvid Schmidt continues:

“Social responsibility is also about giving guidance and direction to others, and I believe this is what we do here. Above all, we give priority to sustainability and even made record profits in 2018. In this way, we show how sustainability and business can be combined. We hope that we are a source of inspiration to other companies.”

Ambitions to show the way forward

The enthusiasm of both the CFO and the CEO clearly indicates their conviction that increased focus on social responsibility and global goals are the correct and natural way for the Port of Grenaa. As Henrik Carstensen phrases it:

“We will put even more efforts into social responsibility over the coming years – this is also a condition for strengthening and ensuring the future of our business. The global goals and our new CSR policy will be strongly present in our next strategy plan for 2020 to 2025. It is our ambition to appear as a national classic example of a port that shows the way forward in social responsibility.”