Through a new collaborative cargo owner-led network, supported by UMAS, a group of climate-forward brands have announced a first-of-its-kind target to progressively switch all of their ocean freight to vessels powered by zero-carbon fuels by 2040.

Amazon, Brooks Running, Frog Bikes, IKEA, Inditex, Michelin, Patagonia, Tchibo, and Unilever are the first signatories to a 2040 ambition statement facilitated by Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (coZEV).

By zero-carbon fuels, the signatories mean fuels that have zero greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis, are sufficiently scalable to decarbonize the entire shipping industry, and for which safety and land use concerns have been addressed. Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) does not meet these criteria and the cargo owners agree that their goals are most likely to be accomplished with hydrogen-based fuels.

The ambition statement sends an important demand signal to the maritime value chain and bunker fuel producers that freight customers want zero-carbon shipping and they expect the industry to rapidly accelerate its decarbonization efforts in the years ahead. It also signals new interest by public-facing and climate-leading consumer goods companies and retailers to work collaboratively, deploy their capacities for innovation, and drive economies of scale to foster an economically viable marketplace for zero-carbon shipping.

Dr Nishatabbas Rehmatulla, Principal Consultant at UMAS, said; “Yet again, private stakeholders have gone further and faster than policy makers in their efforts to decarbonise shipping. This statement and the actions that follow send a clear signal to the rest of the sector that zero carbon shipping is here and now. Regulators, national and international, and other stakeholders risk losing legitimacy and relevance if they move too slow. Zero by 2050 is imperative and genuine action must be taken now, if not yesterday”

Some of the concrete actions in the statement include to better understand the cargo owners maritime emissions, working with carriers to reduce emissions by maximising energy efficiency through operational and technical measures, and harnessing buying power to help establish the first zero-carbon maritime transportation corridors.

While sending demand signals for zero-carbon shipping is essential to kick-start this transition, companies working with coZEV also recognize that market forces alone will not bring these solutions to scale. For this reason, signatories to the 2040 Ambition Statement are also calling on policymakers around the world to take swift and ambitious action to advance maritime shipping decarbonization — in their domestic, regional, and international leadership capacities. Currently, the International Maritime Organization, shipping’s global regulator, is working under a draft greenhouse gas strategy for shipping that only requires the sector to reduce its absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 but calls to increase the IMO ambition, to fully decarbonise by 2050, have already been made by several countries to keep in line with the latest science.

Read the Commitment Statement

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