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Friday, June 18, 2021 

ClassNK has expanded the scope of its Innovation Endorsement, the third-party certification service tailored to innovative technologies and initiatives, through which it supports innovations related to environment, safety, and labour as well as the existing digitalisation service.

Following the update of Innovation Endorsement policy, the society has revised its Guidelines for Digital Smart Ships and Environmental Guidelines. As companies pursue ESG management and the SDGs to realise a sustainable society, various innovations have been vital to resolve challenges. In order to support the spread of innovative technologies for which clear standards for evaluation are not likely to be established, ClassNK launched Innovation Endorsement in July 2020 to provide certification services regardless of existing requirements under the principal policies of 'speed-focused', 'corporation with front runners' and 'certification responding to needs of clients and society'. Based on the initial framework covering digital technology, ClassNK has so far issued Digital Smart Ship (DSS) notations for 70 ships and certified four solutions.

Having extended Innovation Endorsement, the society recognised the need for third-party certification on innovative technologies and initiatives not limited to the digital sector. Hence, ClassNK has decided to expand the scope of Innovation Endorsement to the categories of environment, safety, and labour in addition to digital. Under these four categories, certification is conducted for (1) Ships, (2) Products & Solutions such as software and equipment, and (3) Providers providing products and solutions. The new policy for Innovation Endorsement has been described as 'ClassNK - Innovation Endorsement Approach'.

Following the policy update, the society has revised its Guidelines for Digital Smart Ships and Environmental Guidelines. Guidelines for Digital Smart Ship (Edition 2.0) stipulating class notations for the ships provided with systems utilising digital technology (smart systems) has added target smart systems and established provisions for identifying smart systems by their level of technology advances. Environmental Guidelines (Edition 4.0) stipulating class notations for environmental measures on ships has established the notation for 'Advanced Environmental Awareness (a-EA)' to indicate the advanced environmental measures are taken, in addition to existing environmental notations (EA). The guidelines also include the relevance of ships' environmental measures to the SDGs in response to the growing interest to the SDGs. 

Dr Toshiro Arima, Corporate Officer, General Manager, Digital Transformation Center said: “Industry’s feedback on Innovation Endorsement has been positive, and we are on the right path to provide the third-party certification for innovative technologies and initiatives. I am glad to have expanded the scope of Innovation Endorsement to serve the industry and society better. The revised guidelines have further streamlined the scheme to certify the ships with digital and environmental innovations. We are now working on developing class notations related to the innovations on safety and labour as well as on strengthening verification methodology for products and solutions, and providers. ClassNK continues striving for supporting innovations with its expertise and collaboration with front runners.“

The guidelines are available to download free of charge for registered users of ClassNK’s website.

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