Tackling global transformations
2019 was a good year for DNV GL. We increased revenue by 9.7%, helped by improved market conditions. Notably, earnings more than doubled as a result of continued cost discipline and increased productivity linked to the use of new digital tools and processes. The dedication and hard work of our colleagues was evident across our businesses.
Our Maritime business area delivered the lion’s share of revenue growth. However, Oil & Gas, Energy and Digital Solutions also delivered growth, while Business Assurance as expected had slightly lower activity after a bumper year in 2018. Moving into 2020 DNV GL is in a much stronger position than previous years and poised to take advantage of opportunities ahead.
In the short term, there is of course a major storm to weather. The present disruptions are extraordinary. We are deeply mindful of the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on the customers and communities we serve, and we are doing everything in our power to contribute as constructively as possible. DNV GL staff are demonstrating great resilience, resourcefulness and care, in keeping with the proud traditions that have sustained our company over the past 150 years. Our foremost priority is the health and safety of our people, as well as ensuring business continuity.
We are also preparing for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, because we can expect additional significant changes. The 2020s is being called ‘the decade of transformation’. This is the decade where the pace of the energy transition will be set. This is also the decade where our food and health systems will change immensely, and when the digital technologies underpinning Industry 4.0 will mature from experimentation into large-scale application.
Most importantly, this is the decade where humanity will succeed or fail to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals. Now, more than ever, we are reminded that the great challenges society faces are global, and we must work together to solve them. Therein lie great opportunities too; to decarbonize, to create more sustainable supply chains, to further digitize and leverage new technologies.
I believe DNV GL has a unique role to play in these transformations. With our technical expertise, domain knowledge and understanding of risks, we help customers to manage their assets safely, efficiently and with confidence. We aim to be a trusted voice to tackle the global transformations ahead of us.
In many areas we are already doing so. In 2019, we released the third edition of our Energy Transition Outlook. This publication has become the most downloaded report ever produced by DNV GL, demonstrating the interest in the energy transition among our customers and stakeholders. In the outlook, we forecast a staggering growth in electrification towards 2050, mainly powered by wind and solar.
As an organization responsible for assuring, verifying and advising on the assets that will provide the world’s energy in the decades to come, DNV GL is at the nexus of the transition. We are a leading source of technical expertise in clean and zero-emission energy – from production and transmission to distribution, storage and use. Taking offshore wind as an example, our work spans the whole value chain from ocean studies, through design, construction, transmission and distribution of power to consumers. We are also increasingly involved beyond that with the assurance work we perform for investors and financial institutions.
The maritime sector is changing in response to the International Maritime Organization’s call for 50% reduction of emissions. Currently 6% of ships on order worldwide will be powered by low carbon alternatives, and this share is expected to increase. Local initiatives such as the Green Shipping Program in Norway demonstrate that new technologies and smarter ecosystems can have a big role to play, if maritime businesses and government work together.
Digital technologies play a critical role in bringing about transformation. In 2019, we opened a research centre in Shanghai to explore how artificial intelligence and advanced machine learning processes can be used to aid inspections and identify possible faults more rapidly, like our new AI-algorithm to detect defects in weld seams that was successfully piloted for use at yards.
Consumers are also able to reap the benefits that digital tools bring. The source of a product, the production methods, packaging, safety, carbon footprint and social performance can be traced and checked before purchase, an area of growing focus in the suite of services we offer to global supply chains. This resulting transparency enables consumers to trust and select products with greater confidence.
To achieve these transformations well, and with speed, we must work in partnership. DNV GL works closely with customers, industry associations and international organizations such as the UN Global Compact and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development in pursuit of change to a more sustainable world. We are committed to the ten principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, which are integrated in our corporate strategy, management system and day-to-day operations.
We don’t know what the coming year will look like. I do know, however, that we at DNV GL will do our part to foster collaboration among key stakeholders to solve global challenges and deliver on our purpose of safeguarding life, property and the environment.
Group President and CEO