ZVT could be seen as just "another green project"...

... but it is so much more than that. It involves a total rethink of the industry, with new values which need bedding in, new opportunities and new business ventures. “The shipping industry is undergoing structural change, and since we are a part of that industry, we want to be part of its development,” says Susanne Abrahamsson, CEO of SSPA Sweden AB, one of the brand owners of Zero Vision Tool.

SSPA specialises in supplying research and innovation results to the industry, mainly with regard to energy and safety, and it is this expertise as well as project management, among other things.

“One of the cornerstones of ZVT is shared knowledge. All project participants have to work together and share their expertise with one another. I have been pleasantly surprised by the fact that everyone wants to be involved and participate under these terms; I had not expected that,” says Susanne.

“Everyone thinks outside the box and is extremely creative, and this makes you really want to carry on working together!”

A wider context generates greater understanding

And as the work has progressed, it has dawned on the participants that they did not actually start from scratch in the project.

“There is already a huge amount of expertise out there. We just needed to listen and talk to each other. Putting things into a wider context means new interfaces are created, and you see each other in a completely different light."

In addition, the traffic light method helps to simplify a job which in actual fact is extremely complex. Susanne believes it becomes structured, manageable and straightforward – a learning experience – and the methods used mean people do not get bogged down in the details. It is also a lot easier to prioritise when you have a clear idea of what the most pressing matters are.

“There is a long list of issues, but the way zvt works means that you always get through the list at such a rate that you can see the end result.”

Shared expectations are a success factor

Via the reference group, ZVTREF, the industry has an opportunity to raise issues with the authorities in a structured manner. It has given all involved a common perspective, as all authorities see the same items at the same time. This way of working also has a certain educative aspect to it – which is far from negligible. After all, the very fact that you meet and discuss things means that you respect each other.

ZVT is an industry-driven platform, which means that the needs come from the industry. The participants in the industry projects (JIP) invest their own time and effort as well as their own resources in working with others to come up with joint solution proposals which will also benefit actors outside of the JIP. The success factor is that there is a shared objective and shared expectations.

“The industry is confronted by two major challenges at the moment: a zero vision for safety and a zero vision for the environment. Each of these is a big challenge in itself, but now they are converging on us at the same time. This means we have to use this to our best advantage. We have to ensure that everyone survives and can be there at the end to enjoy the fruits of all this hard work. That’s the real challenge!” says Susanne.

ZVT is more than just the (S)ECAs

Susanne describes ZVT as an organism with a life of its own. No one dictates what they have to do or how they have to do it, even though the work follows a common, shared method. ZVT is constantly developing to meet new needs. She believes that the platform will be there for as long as people want to be involved in developing new thoughts and ideas for joint solution proposals.

“It’s also important to remember that ZVT is more than just the S(ECA)s. It’s a way of working which can also be applied to other issues. Now that people have seen that the method actually works, we can truthfully say that ZVT has played a part in the development of the entire industry! So it wasn’t so risky after all to start talking to each other, meeting new people outside our normal boundaries and sharing in each other’s expertise,” says Susanne with a smile, before finally adding:

“On top of that, ZVT helps get the authorities to talk to each other and has meant that they now have a totally different level of respect for the input coming from the industry. Nor can politicians get away from the fact that we are a sector which wants to contribute.”