Seaports Magazine - Summer 2016 - (Page 14)

THE SLIPPERy SLOPE Ethical Considerations in Port Business Decisions By Lori Musser I mproving corporate behavior in a way that positively impacts the world is becoming everyone's responsibility. Seaports with good corporate citizenship devote more time to the business at hand and spend less time in hot water. Recognizing that, port leaders are looking to ethics as a strategic resource - a measurable differentiator to enhance value and performance. Unfortunately, there is no real science for moral decision-making and conduct. And ports rarely make decisions on pure moral principles. Ports follow rules, but ethics involve learning what is right or wrong, and then doing the right thing. Pre-empting Ethical Dilemmas © / Allkindza Headlines hail illegal acts and poor decisions by businesses every day - from dumping toxic sludge in our oceans, to defrauding billions through Ponzi schemes, to poisoning folks with contaminated products. But what about business decisions and activities - such as ones by port authorities, their tenants, their shipping lines, and other partners - that aren't illegal, but just don't sit well with some audiences? On any given day, ports may deal with customers who source from suppliers with 14 AAPA SEAPORTS MAGAZINE unsafe working conditions, tenants who are replacing workers with automation, shipping lines involved in controversial environmental practices, proposed facilities that block sight lines, or terminal operators with out-of-favor ownership, among other issues. Port Saint John's CEO, Jim Quinn, spoke about issues with the harbor-based aboriginal fishery that he encountered when he took the port's helm six years ago. "It was in real turmoil. There were those who said you can't have fishers in a commercial port." Quinn wasn't so sure. He recalls going down to a dock on a snowy and rainy November day. He sat down and talked face to face with the fishers. "We had a great discussion on how to make things better and meet my needs and meet their needs," said Quinn. It took a bit of work, but in the end, "We were able to actually solidify their presence here." That was a trigger for change at Port Saint John. To avoid being blind-sided when controversy about an activity or plan erupts in a community, then getting bogged down in responding, Saint John is now very proactive. It has entrenched two-way communications programs in its culture. Communications may well be the lifeline seaports need to pre-empt many problems. © / Savas Keskiner » FeAtURe Increasing Pressure With information at their fingertips, community members are more aware than ever before of headline-makers and of the status of issues they hold close. Ports have to be extra vigilant to ensure their educational outreach searches out community input on potential hot potatoes, incorporates that input into decision making, and addresses issues through advance and ongoing messaging. Port Everglades' CEO, Steve Cernak, said that, as ports become more visible, they are typically subject to a higher level of scrutiny. "Individuals, interest groups and communities have come to understand the diverse benefits ports generate," said Cernak. Understanding the benefits and engaging in a dialogue with communities helps shape a port's decisions and defines good corporate citizenship at a local level. Luis Ajamil, president and CEO of the Miami-based international design firm Bermello Ajamil & Partners, Inc. (B&A), added that in his experience, urban ports, in particular, are under more pressure from their surrounding communities. Waterfront land is at a premium everywhere, but its greater relative value in urban environments, combined with the sheer density of nearby residents and

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Seaports Magazine - Summer 2016

AAPA Headquarters
From the President's Desk
Ports Strengthen Partnerships Via Community Outreach
The Slippery Slope: Ethical Considerations in Port Business Decisions
Community Outreach Toolbox
Symbiotic Cooperation Leads to Success for Everyone
Community Relationships: Build Them Now
Port Community Outreach: A University's Role
Index of Advertisers

Seaports Magazine - Summer 2016