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New research names top brands responsible for shipping pollution

02 Mar 2023

New research released on Wednesday (1 March) by the Ship It Zero campaign finds that Walmart, Target and Home Depot were the largest ocean import polluters of 2021, as e-commerce demands skyrocketed in the U.S. and globally.

The report takes an in-depth look at the nation’s largest major companies that import goods into the U.S. — including Walmart, Home Depot, LG Electronics, Nike, Target, Amazon and IKEA — and reveals new data on ocean shipping emissions generated from the transportation of goods from the technology, furniture and fashion sectors.

This in-depth analysis, titled All Brands On Deck: Top Furniture, Fashion, Retail & Technology Companies Must Act to Abandon Dirty Ships, was released during the week of the 8th annual Our Ocean Conference in Panama, one of the world’s most essential ocean transshipment hubs, as well as TPM23, the premier conference for global logistics technology.

This report provides analysis from 2021 when climate and public health impacts of fossil-fueled cargo shipping were exacerbated by COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions and corresponding port congestion. The retailers studied in the report emitted 3.5 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions through the import of goods into the U.S. alone – equivalent to the emissions from 400,000 U.S. homes. The report also shows the ports that have been most impacted by imports and the communities that are facing growing emissions leading to increasing rates of pollution and health risks.

“Ship It Zero’s latest report shows us that Walmart and Home Depot, in particular, are neglecting their responsibilities to extend their climate commitments to the seas and do right by U.S. port communities. Consumers overwhelmingly want their goods shipped on zero-emission ships and have reported that they’d move their business to companies with a cleaner ocean-climate footprint. We urge Walmart, Home Depot and all companies that continue to rely on fossil-fueled ocean freight services to abandon dirty ships now and compete to put their goods on the world’s first zero-emission vessels,” said Madeline Rose, Climate Campaign Director at Pacific Environment.

“Some companies have made a commitment to zero-emission shipping such as Amazon, Target and IKEA, which represents a step in the right direction but it simply doesn’t go far enough. Today’s report shows that brands across a spectrum of industries, from fashion to tech, need to increase their targets to achieve 100% zero-emission shipping by 2030. They must act now and rapidly clean up shipping to ensure a healthier, cleaner tomorrow for our communities and our oceans,” said Kendra Ulrich, Shipping Campaigns Director for Stand.earth.



Major U.S. importers across sectors must make more near-term annual commitments to abandon dirty ships this decade. Walmart and Home Depot have made no public commitments to zero-emissions ocean shipping and must step up to port communities and abandon dirty ships. Current 2040 commitments from Target, Amazon, IKEA and others are too late. Walmart and Home Depot have enormous market power to help accelerate the shipping industry’s energy transition and they should act to wield it.



The maritime import emissions of 18 companies were analysed, including: Walmart (#1), Target (#2), The Home Depot (#3), LG Group (#4), Lowes (#5), Ashley’s Furniture (#6),  Amazon (#7), Samsung (#8), Costco (#9), Nike (#10), IKEA (#11), Williams Sonoma (#12), Dell (#13), VF Corp (#14), Adidas (#15), Hewlett-Packard (#16), Living Spaces (#17) and H&M (#18).

Walmart, Target and Home Depot produced the majority of climate and air pollution of all companies analysed through their ocean import practices in 2021.

Note: Read the full report: All Brands On Deck: Top Furniture, Fashion, Retail & Technology Companies Must Act to Abandon Dirty Ships.


Photo credit: Ship It Zero campaign

Published: 2 March

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