How IMPA drives best practice in 2021 and beyond

We have a bold vision for the future of our industry, and this year, we are fully embarking on a journey to achieve it. More research and development, more high-quality content that drives business improvements, and an even more daring fight for a sustainable blue economy; this is how an intrepid IMPA will be steering the wheel of a market-driving strategy in 2021 and beyond. You simply cannot miss on membership!

A new year, a new IMPA – after a watershed 2020 that demanded radical changes across the board for our Association, but that also incentivised us to experiment more with things like e-networking, online meetings, virtual exhibitions, webinars, and digital training sessions, we are starting 2021 with a whole new strategy; one that combines the daring experimental nature of last year with the creativity, innovative spirit and grit that our team has always put in our projects – all with one single mission, to deliver value for our members and move the industry forward. So, the question remains, what exactly can you expect from IMPA this year, why should you remain or become a member, and how will we, together, drive best practice in 2021 and beyond? 

Delivering better frameworks, guidance, and solutions for sustainable purchasing in maritime

Integrating environmental, social, and economic considerations in purchasing decisions should no longer be news to any purchaser nowadays. The benefits of looking beyond the price of a product and adopting a triple-bottom-line approach (people, planet, profit) are many, including long-term efficiency savings, reducing the harmful impact of pollution, increasing the standard of working conditions and improving livelihoods, more efficient use of natural resources and of course, a practical application of a company’s commitment to pushing the sustainability agenda. There are, however, so many ways in which you can work towards responsibly managing your purchasing decisions, so many platforms you can use and recognised frameworks you can follow, that it undoubtedly makes it quite difficult to choose the right option and go about it the right way. We are happy to say, IMPA and the Sustainability team will be here to increasingly assist you. Here is how.

Not only will we be hard at work improving what we already have, but we will also look to expand remits and push new agendas in sustainable procurement. Efforts will continue on our IMPA ACT programme that helps shipowners and ship suppliers in maritime to commit to working with responsible supply chain management and establish processes and systems for carrying out regular human rights, environmental and economic due diligence and provide accessible and equitable remediation, in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines. This programme is now all the more prevalent with the European Union’s plans to make these systems and processes legally required in 2021 for all companies that want to access the EU internal market, including those established outside the EU. We foresee more activity around the programme than ever before, and we are looking at digitalising it, expanding the list of environmental impacts needing assessment and increasing the accountability threshold for those companies deemed “preferred”. The new and ambitious IMPA SAVE, an initiative that in less than a year since inception, enjoys greater awareness and salience than many of our programmes, will have its remit extended to a broader undertaking. Not only will the efforts on reduction of plastic water bottles be extended further to include more plastic items that could be replaced or removed from onboard vessels, but there will also be an embarkment on a research programme to understand the wider green agenda in procurement and explore a new “green” benchmark for suppliers in maritime. There are many changes in store on this year’s sustainability agenda for IMPA, and we are committed to make sustainable procurement the new norm; and our members, supporters and stakeholders will be key in achieving this goal.

Research and development, education, and insights at the heart of our activity schedule

The role of the marine supply chain professional has never been more challenging than today. As part of our belief that only continuous professional development can enable professionals to deal with the disruption, we are fully committing to asking the right questions, researching the best answers, and delivering much more high-quality content throughout our portfolio. Whether this commitment will translate as reference papers, research reports and how-to guides in the IMPA Insights area, online courses for professionals or workshops on new legislation like the recent EU Ship Recycling Regulation through the IMPA Academy, articles and opinion pieces through the Marine Trader or IMPA BLOG, or industry commentary through our recently-launched IMPA CAST and regular webinar series, we will be here to help you drive business improvements and be prepared to overcome any hurdle. It is a promise!

More cooperative development of new value for our maritime community

Knowledge sharing and conversation have always been the backbone of the Association, and we are picking up the speed and quantity on both, to not only foster an inclusive and transparent culture with members at the centre of our development work, but also to deliver better value for them; at the end of the day, who knows better what professionals need than professionals themselves? Be prepared for more industry surveys, conversations around improvement of existing products and more focus groups than ever before. We are keen to form a community where co-creation is key, and where ideas are shared and improved together. Of course, we will also continue to collaborate with industry-leading bodies to drive change together and enable further opportunities for our members.

The first step in our strategy for 2021 and beyond? Communicating this to members. It is why we are completely revamping the membership scheme, including developing a new website. We want to improve the way in which we communicate what we stand for and our mission, enhance member value and engagement, and become an even larger community, and developing new membership resources, new channels of communication and a better hub for our Association will be key in doing just that.

IMPA has an opportunity here, to become the visionary that does not just form a community around common values and goals, but that also has the power to advance the industry and drive the maritime procurement sector, and we are grabbing it with both hands in 2021. The real question is, will you be part of the change with us?