This year Pole Star has positively contributed towards the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2015, UN countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 SDGs that range from ending poverty and hunger, to reducing gender and inter-country inequalities. In conjunction with Goals 5 and 14, we have committed to positively impact Gender Equality and Life Below Water.
Sustainable Development Goal 5 aims to achieve gender equality by empowering women; something that Pole Star has been committed to since signing the Women in Maritime Pledge last year and is hugely prevalent today, on Human Rights Day. The day marks the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document that proclaimed the rights to which everyone is inherently entitled, regardless of gender, race, religion, etc, and to which we are still striving towards.
Recent data has shown that women globally have unequal opportunities for work, political engagement, and economic resources. As such, they represent only 39% of world employment and only 27% of managerial positions, alongside having an average representation in parliaments of 24.2%. While these figures are steadily improving, the maritime workforce is still only made up of 2% women, suggesting that traditional gender roles remain and continue to prevent women from joining male-centric industries. However, at Pole Star we’re making strides to change this as a company made up of over 40% women, of which a third are in managerial positions; a figure which we hope to only increase over the coming year.
We are also determined to raise awareness around this, so last month we hosted a charity bake-off in our London office to raise money for UN Women, the UN’s entity for gender equality and the elimination of violence against women – not just because it’s a human right, but because it’s good for business too.
The organisation strives to create global change by working with governments, communities, and individuals to help remove the social and cultural barriers that legally prevent more than 2.7 billion women from having the same job choice as men and cause them to earn only 77% of every dollar that men earn. Our bake-off was hugely successful and we are pleased to announce that we raised a great amount of money for the cause!
Perhaps more immediately relatable to Pole Star and the maritime industry is SDG 14, which aims to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources, while encouraging the protection of marine biodiversity. With the adverse effects of overfishing, growing ocean acidification due to climate change, and worsening coastal eutrophication, the need to be more responsible with our oceans is ever-increasing.
Over the past 30 years ocean acidity caused by CO2 uptake has increased by 26%, while world marine fish stocks within biologically sustainable levels have declined from 90% in 1974, to 66.9% in 2015. With Pole Star’s Environment Vessel Efficiency (EVE) application, vessel owners can be prepared for and compliant with environmental regulations, assisting the shipping industry in reducing its carbon footprint and improving the condition of our oceans.
Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a great threat to our oceans, sustainable fisheries, and those that depend on them for their livelihoods. SDG 14 aims to effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, IUU fishing, and destructive fishing practices, in order to restore fish stocks, bringing them back to a sustainable level. Our Fisheries VMS application helps with this by tracking and monitoring fishing vessels, alongside generating reports and managing permits and licences to ensure legal and regulated fishing practices.
In 2020, we will continue to work towards the Sustainable Development Goals by continuing our push towards gender equality and improving life below water.