Navigating the complexities of maritime decarbonisation demands a seamless transition from in-depth understanding to actionable steps. This article forms part of a series focused on developing an energy transition strategy for maritime and assumes that you have explored the first two phases, which can be found here and here.
As we venture into Phase 3, ‘Execute’, this article acherecentuates the pivotal role of moving from strategic planning to tangible implementation, encapsulating the core of a well-devised maritime energy transition.
Writer, philosopher and polymath, John Ruskin (1819 – 1900) once wrote, “It is far more difficult to be simple than to be complicated; far more difficult to sacrifice skill and easy execution in the proper place, than to expand both indiscriminately.”
What Ruskin describes is the result of effective discovery and understanding prior to planning and taking action. If undertaken effectively, phases 1 and 2 should highlight the simplest and most efficient route to success. Therefore, creating a plan and putting that plan into action represent the final phase in a well considered maritime energy transition.
Arguably, everything up to this point has constituted ‘planning’, but the plan referred to here is one that can be actioned directly to achieve the aims of the decarbonisation program, within the specified time frame. It might be surprising at first to note that creating a plan for decarbonisation isn’t the first thing to do, coming in at step 7, but when we consider the body of information gathered and questions raised in preceding phases, this makes sense. An actionable plan needs to contain solutions, not questions.
By consolidating the baselines, gaps between present and target states, the options and tools, and desired strategic outcomes, the plan can now set out a procedure for action, complete with timescales, budgets, roles, responsibilities, and taskings.
How this plan is formalised and shared is less important than making sure that it is actioned, but the SMART goals approach offers a familiar framework, by making sure that the plan is:
- Relevant, and;
The success of phase 3 is reliant on the outputs from the two preceding phases. As such, it is useful to remember at each phase that eventually the business will be investing real time and money putting a decarbonisation plan into action.
The implementation phase is both the endpoint and starting point for a well-executed decarbonisation strategy. Its actions close a cycle of learning and open a cycle of change. In every case, implementing change will require a loop back to the beginning. The decarbonisation strategy may need redefining, new data can be gathered and analysed. The gap between present and target states will have shifted – hopefully for the better – and all of these considerations will need reassessment.
The ‘Execute’ phase, while representing the culmination of prior strategic endeavours, also signifies the beginning of tangible transformations in the maritime realm. It underscores the continuous cycle of learning, action, and recalibration. As the maritime industry stands on the cusp of significant change, the iterative nature of this phase underscores the importance of adaptability and foresight, ensuring the industry’s alignment with its sustainable aspirations.