Photo: Source: Venti Views on Unsplash

Study: Only 35% of major shipping companies pledged to become net zero by 2050

Only 33 out of 94 (35%) of the world’s major shipping companies have a clearly expressed target to be net zero by latest 2050 or have committed to IMO targets of 50% absolute reduction in 2050 compared to the 2008 level, a new study shows.

net zero
Source: Venti Views on Unsplash

The assessment, conducted by the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, draws on published decarbonization 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 decarbonization 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.

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,” Bo Cerup-Simonsen, CEO of the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, said.

“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 shows 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.

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