Purpose blog

Purpose-driven businesses are on the rise. Amplified by the challenges that the world faces, companies in a wide range of sectors are increasingly orienting their activity on how and why they can make a positive impact on society.

Organisations with this focus on purpose are also present within the maritime sector. Although a traditionally conservative market, the challenges and opportunities of digitalisation and decarbonisation are prompting more businesses across this global industry to consider how they can drive genuine impact that goes beyond simple commerciality. 

At ZeroNorth, we’re proud to put our purpose and mission – to digitalise shipping for the climate - at the centre of everything we do, from helping customers, and leading industry transformation to developing our products and solutions.

In this week’s Compass blog, we explore how this approach is cemented in our DNA, guides our actions, and why we believe that purpose-driven businesses are the necessary for a sector experiencing fast moving change.

Standing up 

According to a survey conducted by Fortune in 2019, which questioned 500 CEOs from the world’s largest corporations, only 7 percent of business leaders believe their companies should only “focus on making profits and not be distracted by social goals.” In other words, the vast majority of leaders at the world’s biggest corporations have acknowledged that their organisations should support social goals.

Meanwhile, the rise of environmental, social and governance (ESG) priorities shows that the dial is moving within business and that companies are being prompted to answer how they can genuinely commit to actions that make a difference.

However, this change is not only being driven from within businesses. According to a recent report by McKinsey, “a number of companies [are] doubling down on their purpose, at the very time stakeholders need it the most… business has an opportunity, and an obligation, to engage on the urgent needs of our planet, where waiting for governments and nongovernmental organisations to act on their own through traditional means such as regulation and community engagement carries risk.”

In other words, being a purpose-driven business is just common sense: it’s good for companies, good for customers and it can help to preserve and uphold commerciality by making organisations more resilient to risk.

Taking a position

When ZeroNorth was spun off from Maersk Tankers in the Summer of 2020, we knew that it had to be with a clear mission in mind. We settled on “digitalising shipping for the climate”, in recognition of the responsibility our industry has and the opportunity to bring technology forward as part of the solution.

In short, we want to lead transformation of the shipping industry through digitalisation, partnerships and turning data into actions on our platform. Everything we do is oriented around enabling customers to optimise their business through improving voyage optimisation, vessel performance and reducing CO2 emissions. This is what empowers us and also challenges us to continually improve our solutions.

We took this position as our purpose because of the unique and time-pressured context for the shipping industry. Shipping faces an urgent need to reduce its carbon output, driven by regulatory and wider pressure. It also needs a range of solutions to support this decarbonisation pathway, which is where we believe ZeroNorth can play a huge role.

In taking a position, geography also played a key factor. The name ‘ZeroNorth’ nods to our Scandinavian heritage. And we are proud to be based in Copenhagen, which has ambitions to be the world’s first carbon neutral city by 2025. That means that in this mission we are effectively working amongst peers with similar purposes – not to mention a range of shipping’s most important brands – and are leading the movement as a result.

As the McKinsey report also says, it’s important that when businesses do take a position that they align it with what they do best: “it takes shape most effectively when purpose connects with a company’s “superpower”—its unique ability to create value and drive progress across ESG themes.” ZeroNorth’s superpower is people, partners, product and purpose. Our technology and shipping experts forge new solutions to industry challenges by working together with a shared goal.

Leading the way

This brings us back to our mission to digitalise shipping for the climate. This is the basis around which we connect with partners, customers and industry associations that all want to drive impactful change.

We are doing this through developing the ZeroNorth platform, which converts data into tangible actions and dollars, and reduces CO2 emissions for the benefit of the shipping industry, and wider world. By connecting multiple data points across a single interface, the software interprets data to generate thousands of potential recommendations to optimise voyage plans and increase earnings. 

In effect, we are turning data into actions, and these actions are aligned with our deep purpose as an organisation. We are committed to bringing this purpose to the industry and therefore are leading an industry working group focused on tackling actions that can be taken today on the decarbonisation journey, to read more about the working group click here.

Purpose-driven business also provides satisfaction to our teams who can make a difference through the work they do. And, in the medium and long term, working with purpose is fundamental to take us from where we are today to where we want to be in the future. In short, at ZeroNorth, having an impact and making a difference is what motivates us every day.

What does it means to be a purpose activist? View the film to learn more

Purpose-driven business also provides satisfaction to our teams who can make a difference through the work they do. And, in the medium and long term, working with purpose is fundamental to take us from where we are today to where we want to be in the future. In short, at ZeroNorth, having an impact and making a difference is what motivates us every day.