Environmental, Social, & Governance

Principles and Initiatives on Environmental, Social, & Governance

Founded with the goal of contributing to safety at sea and environmental protection, ClassNK carries out all of its business with consideration on environmental and social aspects for the sustainable development of society as a whole, and ensuring its sound governance. ClassNK’s activities are carried out based on the following principles.

ClassNK, as an international classification society, will contribute to the world through the activities to ensure the safety of life and property, and to protect the marine environment.
Vision (1) The organization aim to open up the future and to lead the society global wide with its high technical level
(2) The organization aim to be trusted from relating industries by high level of technology and sincere attitude of doing business
(3) The organization aim to be able to use each staff’s various talent by free and open-minded culture
Basic stance
Behavior charter
Behavior Guidelines for Compliance
  • Safety
  • Environment
  • Technology Innovation
  • Human resources
  • Governance
Management Plan
  • (1) Promotion of safety/environmental initiatives
  • (2) Promotion of global strategy
  • (3) Promotion of Research & Development
  • (4) Promotion of new business
  • (5) ESG initiatives
  • (6) Response to digital transformation
Annual Business

Materiality and response to ESG

ClassNK selects its essential tasks based on a framework for sustainable development and with consideration towards ESG (environment/society/governance), analysis of the external environment including various societal challenges, and stakeholder needs.



Stakeholders surrounding ClassNK and the value we offer are as follows.


Typical subcategories Values to be provided
Transportation providers
  • Fair and transparent judgment as a third party
  • Development and maintenance of technical standards required
  • Provision of high quality and prompt service and information
  • Support with problem solving
Manufacturers and service suppliers
Cargo owners (*)
Insurance (*)
Industry associations (*)

(*) having a certain amount of influence on the way of our service regardless of whether they are the direct revenue resource.

Governments/global bodies/NGO

Typical subcategories Values to be provided
National, regional governments
  • Technical service as a Recognized Organization (RO) or third party certification body
  • Provision of appropriate information as a specialist
  • Support with administrative matters and collaboration with problem solving
International specialist organizations (IMO/IACS/ITU etc.)
  • Provision of appropriate information as a specialist
  • Collaboration with problem solving

Educational/research institutions

Typical subcategories Values to be provided
  • Collaboration with R&D and human resource training
  • Support on their activities
Research institutions


  Values to be provided
  • Appropriate treatment
  • Fair organization
  • Human resource training
  • Respect for individuality
  • Occupational health and safety


  Values to be provided
  • Fair and transparent transactions

International/regional community

  Values to be provided
International community
  • Proactive contribution to society
  • Independent activities for global environmental problems
Regional community
  • Respect of international norms including human rights, cultures and customs, and domestic laws
  • Contribution to regional economies and societal development

Internal Control System

ClassNK has continuously considered governance systems appropriate for the foundation engaging in third-party certification. ClassNK has developed and operated an internal control system that includes “the system and other requirements defined by the Japan’s Ministry of Justice ordinance to maintain the appropriate operation of a general incorporated foundation” to reinforce corporate governance.

Based upon this internal control system, ClassNK treats the prevention of improper acts along with the growth of competitiveness and profitability, employ a mid- to long-term point of view, strive to build a firm business foundation for future development, ensure the appropriateness and legality of ClassNK operations, and efficiently pursue organizational objectives while satisfying the requirements of stakeholders and executing business activities to contribute to the development of our economy and society.

ClassNK has developed and thoroughly disseminated an “Internal Control Manual” to employees in order to build, institute, and continuously improve the internal control system as well as to reinforce its effective and complete execution.

  • “Basic Policy on Internal Control”
    ClassNK shall maintain an internal control system according to the “Management Principles and Vision”, which provides a common consciousness, objective, and sense of ethics throughout ClassNK.
  • “Regulations for Risk Management”
    In all business and operations related to the achievement of ClassNK objectives, ClassNK shall identify, analyze, and evaluate factors that adversely affect the achievement of said objectives as risks and provide appropriate measures against said risks.


Since it is assumed that all individuals involved in the operation of ClassNK should faithfully follow the “Articles of Incorporation of ClassNK”, “ClassNK Mid-term Plan” and the “Management Principles and Vision”, ClassNK has established the “Behavior Guidelines for Compliance” and the “Compliance Manual” so as to define the starting point of compliance as the “examination of the appropriateness of one’s own actions from the standpoint of an impartial third party by temporarily putting aside any personal, internal, or business interests”. In addition, ClassNK shall regard the aforementioned guidelines and manual as the basis for all activities and act in accordance with them during the conduct of all ClassNK business operations as well as encourage the practice of the “Basic Policy on Internal Control System” in our private lives.

To create an ethical organizational culture and to realize fair and appropriate management, ClassNKl disseminates the “Behavior Guidelines for Compliance” and “Compliance Manual” to all employees and reinforce their thorough execution in order to fulfill ClassNK's social responsibilities.

  • “Behavior Guidelines for Compliance”
    In order for ClassNK, an independent organization, to continuously and stably provide high quality, fair, transparent and appropriate service, all executives and regular employees of ClassNK shall have a deep sense of ethics for gaining social trust and aim to practice fair and faithful behavior.
  • “Compliance Manual”
    All executives and employees regardless of position and responsibility will equally and voluntarily comply with not only this manual, but also any laws and rules related to our business activities with the best of intentions in order to build a much more ethical organization culture.

Behavior Guidelines for Compliance

Health, Safety & Environmental (HSE) Policy

As an international classification society providing services to ensure the safety of life and property at sea and to promote the protection of the marine environment, ClassNK considers health, safety and environment to be of the utmost importance. Through the implementation of our own occupational health and safety management system developed based on the relevant standards, ClassNK is striving to continually improve our health and safety performance. ClassNK also contributes to social development through activities aimed at promoting the protection of the marine environment.

ClassNK established the HSE Committee in order to promote the Society’s HSE and reviews and/or monitors Health, Safety & Environmental Policy, Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) objective, OH&S performance, results of internal audit, etc. periodically. Our Health, Safety & Environmental (HSE) Policy states our commitment to health, safety and environment. This policy is communicated to all employees.

SDGs mapping of ClassNK business activities

ClassNK contribute to the accomplishment of SDGs through these business activities.

Business activities. Related SDGs
Safety surveys/audits in line with ClassNK technical rules and regulations including Load Line and SOLAS

Environmental surveys/audits in line with ClassNK technical rules and regulations including MARPOL (Oil/hazardous liquid substances /sewage / waste / air pollution), BWMS, AFS, and HKC

Working condition inspections in line with regulations including MLC

R&D (rule development/ survey technology innovation/marine environmental protection/revolutionary technology development)

Certifications on renewable energy

Certifications on management systems, HSE, seafarer training institutions, and GHG emission

ClassNK Academy and other training services

Provision of support on design/construction/operation and regulatory requirement, software for optimization, and any solutions related to industry challenges

Ensuring management base (human resources, governance)

United Nations Global Compact (UNGC)

In June 2019, ClassNK signed the “United Nations Global Compact (UNGC)” and joined the local Japanese network “Global Compact Network Japan”.
The United Nations Global Compact is a global initiative advocated by the United Nations. The voluntary initiative incorporates responsible and creative leadership from each company/organization and invites members to perform as a member of society to realize sustainable growth.
ClassNK supports the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact made up of “Human Rights”, “Labour”, “Environment”, and “Anti-Corruption”, and is dedicated to carrying out initiatives for standards establishment, surveys, registrations, certification, R&D in order to contribute to our mission of helping ensure the safety of life and property and protecting the environment.

“The Guidelines”: ClassNK “Behavior Guidelines for Compliance”

Human Rights

Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and

Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.

  • In the Guidelines, ClassNK declares that “we respect laws and international norms, including human rights as well as the cultures and customs of other countries and regions” and operate under said declaration.

Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;

Principle 4: The elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;

Principle 5: The effective abolition of child labour; and

Principle 6: The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

  • ClassNK verifies labor protection as a third party organization through surveys/inspections related to MLC and other labor regulations
  • In the Guidelines, ClassNK declares to implement “fairness and transparency” and “respect individuality”.

Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;

Principle 8: Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and

Principle 9: Encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.

  • ClassNK verifies environmental pollution prevention as a third party organization through environmental surveys/audits related to ClassNK technical rules/international regulations on behalf of flag authorities. We do this in line with ClassNK HSE Policy.
  • ClassNK thoroughly shares information related to environmental regulations and new technologies to raise awareness in the industry and society.
  • Through its R&D ClassNK works for platform building where new environmental technologies can be smoothly applied.
  • ClassNK provides optimal software and solutions for environmental improvement.
Anti- Corruption

Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.

  • In the Guidelines, ClassNK declares to implement “fairness and transparency”.