We place Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at the heart of our business. Our core values: Friendliness, Adaptability, Integrity, and Result-oriented (FAIR), are the principles that guide our behaviour in all our business processes. Our strategic objectives are based on three pillars of excellence – knowledge and expertise, financial strength and long-term relationships, with sustainability being a key part of each pillar. We apply the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) as guiding principles and we seek to ensure that our CSR activities are aligned with these global goals.
CSR is also an integral aspect of our investment strategy, and we fully support the UN Principles of Responsible Investment and encourage fund managers to sign up to them. These principles recognise that long-term sustainable returns are dependent on stable, well-functioning and well-governed social, environmental and economic systems.
Knowledge sharing is a key foundation
We integrate social and environmental concerns into our day-to-day activities. We are committed to making a positive contribution to the industries we serve by offering dedicated resources to share knowledge and expertise. For example, members of the Gard team contribute to the work of the International Group (IG), by providing a wide range of expertise in legal, insurance and technical matters to the IG’s subcommittees and working groups which helps both the industry and society. We also support other important industry stakeholders such as Cefor where our Chief Claims Officer has chaired the organisation for the past two years.
We are involved in various global industry initiatives with other maritime organisations. Our Gard Updates are widely distributed and shared across the industry. We believe that, by sharing our insight, we can help to improve industry standards and promote collaboration among industry participants for mutual value creation. We look to build long-term relationships with external stakeholders and maintain a network of partners to enhance knowledge sharing on corporate responsibility issues.
We form strategic alliances with educational bodies to build competence and capabilities internally and externally:
- We have strengthened our cooperation with the Agder University (UiA) in Norway and joined their circle of business partners to collaborate to support the university’s research. We have set up made-to-measure MBAs for Gard’s leadership programme participants, joined the project developing the future UiA strategy and become one of their partners in the first dedicated centre for research on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Norway.
- We continue to support the World Maritime University (WMU). It was founded in 1983 by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialised agency of the United Nations and a centre of excellence for maritime post-graduate education and research. The WMU aims to further enhance the objectives and goals of the IMO and its member states around the world through education, research, and capacity building to ensure safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans. Since 2011, we have funded seven students at the university. Gard’s Chief External Affairs Officer also serves on the Executive Board.
- For the past four years, we have supported the Institute of Maritime Law (IML) at the University of Southampton, England. The institute is recognised as one of the world’s leading research and educational institutions within the field of maritime law. Included in our support to IML is the Gard Best Student Award which is given to the student with the highest mark in the subject of Carriage of Goods. The Award includes a monetary award intended to cover educational costs and a one day introduction to Gard.
- We have supported of the Arendal International School since its launch in 2006. Over the past decade, the school has grown from 20 to 180 students, from over 50 countries by a staff with roots in more than 14 countries. Gard’s Chief External Affairs Officer serves on the school’s board.
We also develop strong relationships with local communities, and invest in the next generation of maritime professionals:
- We continue to support Agdering, an organisation for major employers based in the southern Norwegian region of Agder. Our employees collaborate and share knowledge on specific topics such as HR, management and accounting. The use of LEAN methodology in Gard has been one of the topics in 2016.
- Furthermore, we have continued the annual Claes Isacson Scholarship for maritime education. The scholarship was set up in 2013 to help finance a university student with a view to its recipients finding work within the shipping and marine insurance sectors. In 2016, two scholarship were awarded to Dionysis-Ioannis Anghelopoulos from Greece and Jonatan Echebarria Fernández from Spain.
Supporting humanitarian work
We have been an official partner of the Norwegian Red Cross for the past two years, and we have supported the organisation and its international societies in its work handling the aftermath of natural disasters for many years. In addition to financial aid at international, national and regional level, we also work to connect the Red Cross with our correspondents to contribute to building resilience in societies that are sporadically struck by natural disasters, civil unrest or similar. In 2016, the Red Cross established contact with several of our global correspondents, including those in Honduras, El Salvador, the Philippines and Colombia. We have also assisted the Red Cross on specific requests in areas where we have network and contacts.
Another important element in the partnership is the mutual exchange of knowledge and expertise. For instance, Gard employees have received lectures on topics such as International Human Rights and Current global conflicts and way forward from Red Cross employees. In return, several Red Cross team leaders have joined Gard leadership development courses to obtain leadership skills training and organisational management insight.
Finally, The Red Cross has visited our Norwegian offices to introduce the organisation. Gard and its employees have also contributed in specific campaigns such as the annual TV telethon and Network-activity after Imprisonment (ORCN).