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Ocean Safety Index: Establishing User Need

Lloyd’s Register Foundation and United Nations Global Compact are seeking to commission a partner to identify relevant stakeholders and conduct a user need assessment to inform the development of an Ocean Safety Index; an open source decision making tool to support better decision making for safe and sustainable oceans .


The findings of this exercise will be used to test the concept of this new index and to ground future development in a tangible route to impact


Interested applicants are asked to respond to the brief below with a proposal by Friday 7 January.


The deadline for completion of this user need assessment is 30 June 2022. Please see below for full details.

Introduction to Lloyd’s Register Foundation 

Founded in 2012, Lloyd’s Register Foundation is a UK charity with global reach and the sole shareholder of the Lloyd’s Register Group. With amission to protect the safety of life and property, and to advance transport and engineering education, the Foundation has an important role to play in meeting the challenges of today and the future. For more information about the Foundation and the critical infrastructure-related challenges it focuses upon, read our strategy. 

Introduction to the United Nations Global Compact 

As a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. It aims to accelerate and scale the global collective impact of business by upholding the Ten Principles and delivering the Sustainable Development Goals through accountable companies and ecosystems that enable change. With nearly 14,000 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and 69 Local Networks, the UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative — one Global Compact uniting business for a better world. 

Background to the Ocean Safety Index 

The world’s population cannot survive without healthy oceans; they provide 50 –80 % of the Earth’s oxygen, sustenance, and biodiversity. Our survival also relies heavily on the ocean to support world trade, importing and exporting goods in quantities that ensure populations do not perish. Despite this, human activity continues to put the health of the oceans at great risk through, for example, the worsening climate crisis, unsustainable practices depleting vital resources, and dangerous levels of ocean pollution. As the world’s population grows and we turn to renewable energy sources and look for alternative food supplies for the health of the planet, our reliance on the ocean for foodpower and other services will continue to increase. In addition, this mounting dependence on the oceans is likely to put even greater pressure on the millions of workers at sea who already face hazardous working conditions daily, and to those who live and work along our coasts 

Overall, damage to the ocean and poor investment decisions threatens to cause significant disruption to our safety, our economies, and the livelihoods of generations to come.  It is therefore essential we take the necessary action to save our world’s oceans for the survival of the human population and for the future of the planet. In order to do this, we must improve understanding around the underlying causes of risks at sea which pose significant safety risk to humans and the environment. One significant barrier to moving forwards with such efforts, however, is a lack of knowledge about much of the ocean, the activities and industries it supports, as well as inconsistencies in the reporting and recording of occupational incidents.  

Important data which helps decision makers understand where to focus improvement efforts does exist and is likely to be built upon in the coming years, but existing data sources are poorly curated and many areas of the ocean and the wider ocean economy remain under researched and largely invisible to the wider population. These data and knowledge gaps hinder good decision making by governments, by investors, by industry and by consumers action, and mean that harmful practices are more likely to continue. 

In order to provide public and private sector stakeholders with data that will encourage them to take informed action on issues affecting ocean safety, we propose the development of an Ocean Safety Index. This will be an open access tool providing regional and sectoral risk scores which draw attention to the most pressing safety challenges at sea. With this information, stakeholders will be better equipped to make impactful decisions on the future of our oceans. We expect the index to also highlight data gaps, supporting the need for new research and data generation while providing preliminary hypotheses – where possible  about risks in the interim. 

The objectives of an Ocean Safety Index: 

  • Support decision makers to think in a longer-term, strategic manner and inform governmental, business, and financial intervention 
  • Encourage greater accountability and recognition of ocean actors through data transparency 
  • Increase public awareness and engagement so that society becomes increasingly less tolerant of harmful actions in our ocean economy  
  • Highlight where skills may need building for the future blue workforce (e.g. Sustanable development and natural capital  awareness, digital ocean engineer) 

Task outline 

The concept of the index has been socialised with a range of stakeholders who are supportive of the initiative. We now need to formally establish the user needs that could be fulfilled by this tool, and are looking to commission a partner for the first stage of the project to explore and evidence whether and how the index is likely to be used by stakeholders, and to what impact 

We expect a user need assessment to include the following steps: 

  • Identify the target users of an Ocean Safety Index  
  • Gather evidence for different user needs and motivations for making use of an index
    • Establish the data needed by different users to drive change 
  • Establish how the proposed index is likely to be used, and potential barriers to use, according to different actors 
  • Capture the likely impact of an Ocean Safety Index  


The following outputs are required for this project phase: 

  • A map of potential users 
  • A written report detailing the findings of the user need assessment and the potential benefits of use of, and barriers to, engagement with an Ocean Safety Index  
  • Stakeholder persona development across the following example groups (plus additional groups identified in outputs 1 and 2):
    • Public sector policy makers International OrganizationsGovernment agencies)
    • Industry decision makers (eg Shipping, Energy, Aquaculture, Insurers, Financiers)
    • Coastal communities 
    • General public  
    • Communications specialists 

The purpose of the products above will be to inform the next phases of the Ocean Safety Index developmentand a public-facing report may also be developed if findings are likely to have a wider benefit.

Interested parties are asked to outline their proposed approach using the question prompts in the full brief and submitted via email to Caitlin.vaughan@lrfoundation.org.uk by 7 January 2022.

Download the full brief here.

We'll be hosting introductory webinars on the Ocean Safety Index on the following dates. Register via the links below:


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