Unleashing customer power
Customers have a significant influence over how shipping manages its emissions. One example is when the demands of the companies that charter ships are influenced by the demands of the consumers of their goods.
The scale of the challenge to cut carbon emissions in the shipping industry requires urgent action on many fronts and across the whole industry. This is the basis for Decarbonising Shipping: All Hands On Deck report and its proposed solutions cover factors such as regulation, government action and societal shifts, as well as cleaner fuels.
The report says that customers have a significant influence over how shipping manages its emissions. One example is when the demands of the companies that charter ships are influenced by the demands of the consumers of their goods. The report cites the example of some consumers now choosing to buy certain products, such as cars and household items, according to carbon-emission labels. This pressure from the final customer, then influences the behaviour and the choices of those in supply chain.
The executives interviewed for the report said that to reach the decarbonisation target set by the International Maritime Organization, they would have to introduce vessels into the global fleet by 2030 that added no greenhouse gas emissions to the existing stock in the atmosphere. In other words, net-zero emissions ships. The urgency is clear, but more investment is needed and one immediate way to achieve is by increasing customer demand.
- In December last year, the Mediterranean Shipping Company started using a 30% biofuel blend in vessels that call in at the port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. This follows its trials blending different levels of biofuels with traditional marine fuel. It is the first major shipping company to use a 30% blend and this move forms part of its sustainability strategy.
- Volkswagen is set to become the first car maker to use ships powered by LNG to transport vehicles and parts on a long-distance route, in this case Germany to Mexico. LNG emits up to 21% fewer greenhouse-gas emissions than traditional marine fuel, depending on the engine used.
- As part of its campaign to tackle climate change, the consumer goods company Unilever announced last month that it would put labels on all its products to show how much carbon dioxide was emitted in manufacturing and shipping.
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Shipping is vital to the global economy and never more so than during the global pandemic, keeping up the supply of essential goods.
The dilemma for the shipping industry is the balance between the need for change and the cost of change.
Read the latest report “Decarbonising Shipping: All Hands on Deck” which outlines industry perspectives on how to accelerate decarbonisation of the shipping sector.