Grateful & Excited: Thank you!!

So finally we were able to reveal my new role and project this week, and I just have to thank everyone for such an amazing flood of warm and engaged feedback!

The idea of mobilizing all good forces to co-create the world’s best ecosystem for ocean entrepreneurs – with a special focus on impact/sustainability – has been a vision for 10 years. But now the role and timing was finally right.

I have missed my former life as entrepreneur, and within the Oslo Business Region sphere I feel that I can actually get to kick off an entrepreneurial project while being in a great organization. The best of two worlds…!

Just before we launched the news, I spotted a post by Richard Branson on Instagram, which I think really describes my past 6 months. It’s a great advise so I’ll share it with you:

I rested, and now I’m ready to kick ass with loads of engagement. We already received numerous enquiries from players who wants to team up and play a role in the ocean initiative- as well as some who wants to cooperate on sustainability across other sectors. I love the word of mouth effect, which will be extremely important in the collaborative work that lies ahead.

I also feel extremely grateful for the warm welcome I’ve received from the entire team of Oslo Business Region! I’ll share more in what we do and who’s who in the team later – but for now I can just say that it’s a really good group of nice, hard-working, down-to-earth guys who shares the same passion for entrepreneurship. Can’t wait to join properly!

Shipping media and social media has buzzed this week, and here’s some of the coverage. More than 30.000(!) read the press release on LinkedIn alone… And the coolest part – not a dime spent on PR agency..

Featured in Lloyd’s List: Sustainability & Diversity

I spent an hour of the family Easter vacation amidst sunny & snowy Norwegian mountains talking to Lloyd’s List journalist Anastassios, and you can check out what we discussed here (if you have a subscription for Lloyd’s List Maritime Intelligence).

So happy to see how maritime media is starting to increase the focus on diversity and equality- I’ll continue to use every opportunity towards the WISTA International Conference in Tromsø (23-26 October) to push this topic and the extremely important debates. Join me!

An Asset More Profitable Than Oil… #TEDtalk

Before introducing a really good TEDtalk; Did you know that Norway has made billions based on women’s participation in the labor market? Without the increase in female workers, Norway’s onshore GDP would have been 3.300 BNOK lower than it is today.

The average onshore GDP growth in our country has been around 2% annually, and around 10% of this is due to increased use of labor force. This growth primarily comes from female workers.

In other words, assets similar to the entire Norwegian Oil Fund would have been lost if Norwegian women’s labor participation was as low as in the OECD average. Recent research conducted in Norway also shows that if women worked as much as men during the past 40 years, this would have added a 2.300BNOK profit to the economy. To wrap it up; women is good business!

The world finally starts realizing that investing in women is profitable. Japan and South Korea are both at the bottom of the OECD gender equality index. And sharing some key similarities beyond geographical region; masculine cultures, negative financial development and low birth rates. Both needs to boost their economies, and look to Norway & the Nordics for inspiration on how to grow their BNP through increased inclusion of women in the workforce.

A few years ago, I shared my thoughts on innovation & leadership at the Global Woman Leaders Forum in Busan, South Korea. Leaders from across North East Asia were gathered, and I was quite surprised to realize how much focus they had on Scandinavia experiences/models, and the amount of inspiration this region found in what we’ve done in the Nordic/Scandinavian countries.

Being born during the past decades, as a woman in a developed country, is like winning a global lottery. We have access to education & opportunities our female ancestors couldn’t dream of, and hold the opportunity of choosing our own spouse – or to remain single and independent. We can change the future of our children, and of our societies. But still, there is a long way to go.

My hope for the future is that this opportunity and freedom applies for all women across the world in the future. Without thinking that my own culture is better than other cultures, it’s clear that many countries haven’t yet succeeded in achieving & realizing the potentials brought by equal opportunities. Cultural change takes time, and we need inspiration and proof representing success stories.

Hence, I think that a lot of the Nordic models and experiences on gender equality and workforce robustness can be adjusted to fit other cultures, mixed with new thoughts from across regions and serve as great inspiration for other countries (in completely different parts of the world) who wants & needs to innovate and succeed with a bigger employment rate within their societies.

And as leaders of an increasing number of countries work hard to utilize this potential, I wonder how shipping corporations can adapt the same understanding, linking gender inclusion, best practice sharing and economical growth.

Who will be the diversity champions, demonstrating increased productivity, competitiveness and bottom line results? Which male leaders will contribute in driving this change? When will it be mainstream to realize that investing in women is a good business case? If you still doubt me I would advise you all to check out an excellent diversity front runner – AliBaba! Founder Jack Ma claims female executives are his secret sauce to success.. (China is by the way doing a lot of interesting things in general when it comes to succeeding with diversity, spearheading Asia on this issue…)

With this backdrop I recommend spending some minutes watching this excellent TEDtalk by Norwegian politician Hadia Tajik.

Introduction: “Can you put a price tag on oil? Of course you can. But can you put a price tag on women? Hadia Tajik asks the important question, what is the female workforce worth to the society.”

Norway’s youngest Minister ever shares valuable insights on why and how society can capitalize on 50% of its talents. A thought-provoking TEDx talk for shipping leaders.

In TradeWinds: Making Fair Play Pay💰

About time that the industry’s leading newspaper #TradeWinds starts looking into the gender equality issues – I hope it continues!

Super happy to share my thoughts on this important topic. What they didn’t include is that I also told the journalist that a global tool for the industry to explore, track and measure segments/companies’ current state and eventual performance improvements, would be a superb opportunity for an organization like DNV GL or other global big-data collectors to grasp.

I fully recognize that it might be complex and difficult for smaller shipping companies to work on their data in a meaningful way, but that’s also why I aim to identify and share a vast span of gender equality tools with our industry; no matter the size and type of company I’m willing to bet that there are creative and smart ideas used by other companies that could do the trick for yours!

PS; A few fact errors in the article (e.g. Nor-Shipping is a partner on WISTA Int Conference, not in my project. And the speculations on new role not completely correct😉)

100 Tools for Gender Equality: No.1 – Mentoring

I have dedicated 2018 to promote gender equality in shipping, challenging the industry from within once again. In the coming months I have set a target for myself to find and share 100 examples/tools that any small or large company within our industry can use to join the #DiversityShip movement, and deliver on UN Sustainable Development Goal No.5. If you have a good tool or would like to praise your employer for an initiative, please share it and I’ll include and spread it 😃

The first tool, which is completely free of charge to implement, and extremely efficient, is mentoring. I think every leader in shipping should take on a “pay it forward” attitude, and volunteer to mentor a young talent. And as there are fewer girls still, and some additional obstacles, you would be wise to mentor a female. And to add an extra perspective, see if you can contribute towards a female with a different cultural background than yourself..

Did you know that WISTA Norway has developed a really good female mentoring program together with YoungShip? It can and should be reused in other countries!

I have been mentoring students and other industry colleagues for the past 8 years (mostly girls of non-Norwegian backgrounds) and I’d claim that I’ve gained just as much inspiration, knowledge and insights from them as they did from me.

Also, I’ve had a number of male and female mentors myself, and absolutely sure that I wouldn’t have enjoyed such an exciting career without them and their wise words. Forever grateful for the time that leaders like Roberto and Elisabeth have spared in their hectic daily lives..

Sunu, whom I mentored during her masters degree, and whom I still keep in touch with, is one of them. An amazing and hard-working talent from India, who you can learn more about in this article from Klaveness. They took her on as intern, before she went to DNV GL. Today she is working for Opera Software, which is great for them, but a loss of talent from a shipping perspective (as she wrote a brilliant thesis on responsible ship recycling..)

#WomenWhoMoveTheWorld #WISTA #WomenInShipping

Shipping and the Global Goals #SDG

We celebrate the eminent Annual Conference of Bergen Chamber, dedicated to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, by releasing our first SDG challenge to our industry! We are one industry – serving one world. We can impact on all of the 17 SDG’s, and now it’s the time for all of us to start thinking about how we as individuals and corporations can contribute as problem-solvers for the world.

What can you do? What can we do?

The entire Nor-Shipping strategy is built on the SDG’s – and the coming months we invite you to explore our new initiatives under the umbrella “Crowdsourcing by Nor-Shipping”

Sustainable regards / Birgit

#CatalystForChange #DisruptiveSustainability #DiversityShip

Norway: Agenda for action towards 2030 #UN #SDGs

Shipowner and sustainability driving force Elisabeth Grieg mentioned Nor-Shipping and our Young Entrepreneur Award 2015 winner Boyan Slat and his Ocean Cleanup on the panel, during the Norwegian launch of the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
In front of 200+ Norwegian top executives who will drive the change within business across all industries, Grieg states that business (and shipping!) is picking up pace on sustainability focus and creating profit, especially through the 3-4 past years.
Walk the talk and ensuring focus from the boards and top execitives is key! From Nor-Shipping we will do what we can to connect, challenge and inspire the industry to join forces and work as #CatalystForChange #DisruptiveSustainability #SDGLead

Among our range of initiatives is the MoU with SAMSA / South Africa, which highlights innovation, technology and other commercial areas – but also sustainability, diversity and the next generation. 

Follow: @theglobalgoals @globalcompact @motorimagen @rederiforbundet @dnvgl @kongsbergasa @bjornkhaugland

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