Braemar Plc provides expert investment, chartering, and risk management advice to the shipping and energy markets. They are one of the biggest companies in their space. Over the last three years Braemar has rebranded, fully divested their non-core businesses, and refocused their strategy on Shipbroking and Corporate Finance.
As an office-based organisation Braemar’s direct environmental footprint is a very small percentage of the shipping and energy industries’ emissions, but they recognised that they have a role to play in their decarbonisation.
Braemar knew that they needed outside expertise to extend ESG beyond the remit of financial and sustainability reporting into a company-wide strategy and mindset. Isabel Kelly (Profit with Purpose) and Jo Goddard (Green & Good Consulting) working together as ESG Experts were invited to present to the team led by CFO Nick Stone, including Head of Financial Reporting Emma Jones, Group Head of HR Becki Mackay, and Non-Executive Director Elizabeth Gooch.
“As soon as I met Isabel and Jo it was clear that they had a wealth of experience that could benefit us,” said Emma Jones, Head of Financial Reporting.
“I was also drawn to their framework as a way to bring everything together into a single structure starting with our mission statement and moving down through to specifying targets and areas to report on.
“It was just what we needed to provide us with something we could implement and measure, facilitating a more joined up approach to ESG.”
ESG Experts kicked off the project by interviewing eleven Braemar board members and senior executives, asking about the company’s purpose, core values, and culture as well as discussing their thoughts on perceived risks, challenges, and opportunities relating to ESG. These conversations helped the team to understand ESG and what it could mean for the business.
To obtain a clear picture and understand the thoughts and fears of people working throughout the organisation, Isabel and Jo supplemented these management discussions by speaking to a wide range of employees throughout the business and learning what mattered most to them. These discussions provided a platform to connect with employees at all levels, hear their thoughts and de-bunk some of the myths and fears around climate change issues like additional governance and greenwashing.
In particular, employees highlighted how important climate change is to them, to their clients, and to people living in coastal areas. Listening to the Braemar team enriched the proposition for their ESG strategy.
It also became apparent that Braemar’s people were so intrinsic to their purpose that ESG Experts added a ‘P’ to their ESPG framework. The ‘P’ pillar outlines Braemar’s commitment to continue to develop and support their existing staff, while agreeing to cultivate a more diverse workforce.
The North Star
ESG Experts work thus far had started to shift Braemar’s thinking from the practical and tactical ‘what’ approach which they were used to, to a more aspirational and strategic discussion based on the ‘why’ of their purpose.
Braemar had already developed a purpose statement as part of their rebrand: “We believe it takes expertise and experience to secure sustainable returns and mitigate risk in a volatile shipping world.” To build on this, ESG Experts helped them to agree on the ‘North Star’ of their ESG strategy. In other words, to define the objective that drives and guides their purpose.
For this key part of the process, Isabel and Jo conducted extensive research into industry trends, and what Braemar’s competitors and bodies like the International Maritime Organisation were saying and doing to address issues like climate change and net zero impact. This information fuelled discussions which ultimately led to Braemar defining their role as brokers and facilitators – a position that allows them to help make the industry be more climate smart and their objective ‘facilitating climate-smart shipping’ became clear.
ESG Experts helped to start discussions, which Braemar’s team is continuing to have, around new potential opportunities for the business such as attracting new institutional investors and developing new services. So far, this has included the launch of the Braemar Offset platform; acquiring a new desk that can broker European Union carbon Allowances (EUA); launching a weekly ‘Net Zero Report’ for shipowners and charterers; as well as helping their clients to make more sustainable decisions when they charter ships, commission newbuildings, or buy second-hand vessels.
What started on the back of the rebrand has led to defining and embedding ESPG into the culture of Braemar, and starting to change the business as a whole. The framework delivered by ESG Experts has not only provided a clear structure with ‘facilitating climate-smart shipping’ at its core, but has elevated ESPG to a global, business-wide commitment.
See Braemar’s ESG implementation plan and commitment to the Sustainable Development here: https://braemar.com/esg/