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Analysis: Only 35% of major shipping companies expressed to be net zero by 2050

01 Jul 2022

A new study showed that only 33 out of 94 (35%) major shipping companies have a clearly expressed emissions target to be net zero by 2050, said Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping (MMMCZCS) on Thursday (30 June). 

MMMCZCS said it was a serious wakeup call for the industry and urges more shipowners to lead the way towards a more sustainable maritime industry. 

The assessment, conducted by MMMCZCS, draws on published decarbonisation ambitions and actions of the largest companies by owned capacity in tanker, bulk, container, and RORO/car segments. 

Together, these four segments cause a substantial share (70%) of global maritime emissions.

“The state of decarbonisation in the maritime industry shows that while real progress has been made, there is a long way to go for the industry to reach net zero within the limited time left to transition,” it said. 

A comparison with other industries suggests that 35% of shipping companies with IMO or net zero 2050 pledges is low. 

A 2020 KPMG report looking at top-100 companies by revenue in 52 countries across industries, found that 66% of automotive, 56% of oil and gas, and 45% of transport and leisure companies had sustainability reports with carbon reduction targets.

“The MMMCZCS strongly encourages shipowners to set ambitious emissions reduction targets, preferably aligned with a net zero ambition for 2050 or sooner and supplement the pledges with tangible targets and plans already for this decade,” said Bo Cerup-Simonsen, CEO of the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping.

“Transparency is key for the transition, and there is no doubt that ship owners and operators will increasingly need to be transparent about climate target and actions – not only towards regulators but also to live up to expectations from customers, investors, insurance, the greater public – and not least employees.”

While action is needed from shipowners, regulators also need to step up and implement mandatory reporting requirements of climate-related impacts subject to third party auditing. Requirements should rely on global standards to increase comparability and avoid creating additional reporting burdens, the MMMCZS recommends.

The analysis showed that the container industry has the highest level of ambition with 16 of the 30 largest firms in the segment having set emissions targets to a 2050 timeline. This translates to 69% of the total container maritime fleet capacity in owned deadweight tonnage.


Photo credit: Venti Views on Unsplash
Published: 1 July, 2022

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