Capt. Nigel Marrison may be working currently as a superyacht captain, but he’s looking far beyond the bridge. He dreams of a better world — and as the founder and director of Blue ESG, he’s on the way to making that a reality. The company’s goal is to work with captains and management companies to improve their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance by creating and implementing sustainability strategies across the board. They also offer monitoring and reporting.
Blue ESG is Marrison’s “lockdown baby” and officially launched in January 2022. When COVID-19 hit and the world shuttered, Marrison’s job was affected. “It was a surprise to suddenly have time off board during the pandemic and Blue ESG is a reflection of my values as a leader,” he says. As he explained, Marrison has always worked to mitigate his vessel’s eco impact and to have a positive impact in the community. “I strive to run a yacht with positive values, morals, and ethics and, during my research, I discovered that those elements had common ground with ESG performance, and as such, the evolvement of ESG reporting for yachting and the wider maritime world.”
So what does that do for the yachting industry exactly? “Our vision is to evolve yachting into a cleaner and greener experience,” Marrison says. “We would like to create a ‘better yachting industry’ — one with a focus on safeguarding the environment.” Blue ESG takes “a 360-degree holistic view” to improve a superyacht’s efficiency and performance, which can translate into significant reductions in operational budgets, plus the green benefit of reduced emissions. He highlights that a superyacht’s largest operational cost is fuel, and its greatest impact is CO2 emissions from burning that fuel. With Blue ESG, the yacht can identify both eco and financial efficiencies that can lower these costs.
“There are many segmented industry initiatives, yet there lacks a common framework to evidence how yachting is genuinely tackling environmental, social, and governance issues,” he says. “Blue ESG will help reduce environmental impact, generate cost savings, and, in the wider sense, it has the potential to improve the reputation of superyachting,” Marrison says.
He points out the growing interest in and the importance of sustainability and yachting is being challenged to disclose more about their sustainability practices in a measurable way. “Improved performance translates into financial and green efficiencies, the opportunity to recruit the best talent, and distinguish your yacht as a brand of preference and leader in the sector,” Marrison says. “As the service evolves, I envisage the reporting will run in tandem with ISM, [and] will be a monthly subscription model depending on the size of the vessel and how deep they want to go into the ESG metrics.”
“Blue ESG will help reduce environmental impact, generate cost savings, and, in the wider sense, it has the potential to improve the reputation of superyachting,” Marrison says.
The company has a broad scope that hits all three of the ESG trifecta: climate change, sustainability, environmental compliance plus health, safety and wellbeing, diversity and inclusion, employee development and retention, community relations, ethics, and governance, amongst others. They implement the ESG strategies and offer monitoring and reporting services with a lofty goal: ensuring that the yachting and the wider marine industry will be enjoyed for generations to come.
Of course, launching a new business is always challenging. “Shifting mindset, promoting transparency, and long-term success over short-term gain are challenges that I face, as these are in conflict with much of the present culture,” Marrison says, but he’s hopeful he’ll find those who are aligned with his philosophy.
The first step is to establish trust and confidence in his endeavor, Marrison says. He’s doing that by offering a project-based consultancy. For example, they offer a three-month fuel and energy efficiency program that allows Blue ESG to analyze three months of a vessel’s historic fuel and energy usage. They can then help identify opportunities to save and create a plan to improve performance during a three-month operational period following the analysis. At the end of the project, the yacht receives a fuel- and energy-efficient plan driven by its own data.
“It’s about how we use our capacity as a leader to educate and influence others so that we can leave a healthy planet for current and future generations to thrive.”
While this is a service that benefits everyone from the average person on the street to the largest corporations, Marrison believes it might speak more to the younger generation of captains and yacht owners. “For example, the millennial generation of owners have more of a focus on ESG matters. Of course, the crew are also a target — they are a key influencer to the captain and [in] decision making.
“Each one of us is a leader,” he says. “It’s about how we use our capacity as a leader to educate and influence others so that we can leave a healthy planet for current and future generations to thrive.”
Marrison is obviously deeply passionate about sustainability. He shared a sentiment from the United Nations’ Decade of Action, which in 2019 called for the coming decade to transform the world. “Sustainability is not only a climate and social problem, it is also a business concern. The magnitude of this concern depends on our willingness to take action between now and 2030. That is why businesses have to go all-in,” he says.
“How we treat the planet and our people will determine the future of humanity,” Marrison says. “The planet is literally on fire or flooded or in social unrest. Business as usual is no longer an option. It’s down to each and every individual to apply a conscious mindset in every decision we make, every action we take.”