Women in shipping – Anna Larsson, chairperson, Trident Alliance

Anna Larsson has long been an advocate of responsible business, both in her current role as head of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate communications at Wallenius Wilhelmsen ASA and also as chairperson of the Trident Alliance, a coalition of 41 shipping owners and operators working together to ensure a level playing field for low sulphur operations across the industry.

To meet the responsibilities of her roles, which focus on ensuring that operators adopting low sulphur operating methods are not facing a commercial disadvantage, Larsson has been active in the press, at conferences and on social media. She serves as a much needed example of woman leading the discussion about how to balance sustainability and commercial imperatives.

Larsson, who holds a master’s in business and marketing from Lund University, Sweden, and a post-graduate degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg, has increasingly been in the media spotlight as the maritime world sails closer to the implementation for the International Maritime Organisation’s 0.5% global sulphur cap.

While the Trident Alliance shies away from recommending specific technological solutions to meet the emission requirements, the coalition is keen to ensure that the regulations are enforced. This means that Larsson is well versed in the advantages and challenges of various technologies and is able to speak authoritatively about how vessel operations can be affected by individual solutions. She is also up to speed on the options open to port authorities to enforce the regulations, such as fuel testing and using sniffer drones.

This knowledge has meant that the Swedish national is taken seriously by her peers, many of whom are male, and some of whom may have required convincing to join the alliance. “When the Trident Alliance started in 2014, the SECAs were about to come into force, but there was little understanding of the unique need for, and challenges around, sulphur enforcement – and limited preparation around actually implementing them,” she told IHS Markit.

“This [alliance] is not about short-term gain for our members, but rather, about clearly signalling our intent for full compliance and helping to make the regulation enforceable,” she said, adding that the coalition members were also keen to reap the environmental benefits of low sulphur operations. “It’s about ensuring a level playing field and that the full environmental and human health benefits are achieved.”

“We have engaged with global, regional, and national authorities offering a vessel operators’ perspective on the challenges, as well as the possible ways forward. Today, we have a good dialogue and the Trident Alliance is a member of the European Sustainable Shipping Forum. We have also supported different initiatives, including CompMon [MARPOL’S compliance monitoring pilot], to support the development of methods of enforcement.”

Larsson has previously spoken about the importance of seeing more women in management roles and often draws attention to the achievements of those that have broken through shipping’s glass ceiling.