Amazon, Ikea, Unilever and More Pledge For Zero-Emission Shipping By 2040

Major multinational retailers like Amazon, Ikea, Unilever and Michelin are among the nine signatories of the pledge by non-profit Aspen Institute, where the companies have opted for the use of zero carbon marine fuel for their shipping needs, by the year 2040.

Amazon, Ikea, Unilever and More Pledge For Zero-Emission Shipping By 2040
Representational Image | Via: Ikea

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Global shipping, which accounts for roughly 3% of the total carbon dioxide emission, has started bringing out alternatives to achieve zero-emission shipping as soon as possible. The initiative has set a goal for companies to only acquire ocean freight services powered by scalable zero-carbon fuels by 2040.

“The time to act is now,” remarked Edgar Blanco, director for net-zero carbon at Amazon.

Elisabeth Munck af Rosenschöld, sustainability manager for supply chain operations at Inter Ikea Group, added that it was crucial to work with others for developing a cleaner marine fuel.

Furthermore, she stated, “The voice of the cargo owners is important since we are one of the stakeholders to enable the transformation in the industry. We are not willing to automatically pay a premium for sustainability, but we are willing to collaborate and to co-create the solutions and share the necessary investments.”

Boston Consulting Group has estimated that the global shipping industry will require an investment of $2.4 trillion to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, which will require the swift development of zero or low-emission fuels and new designs for ships.

An unprecedented boom in the demand for retail goods while people have been stuck at home due to the pandemic has resulted in record-high container shipping rates in recent months, compounded by port disruptions, which has also led to higher costs for cargo users.

Michelle Grose, head of logistics at Unilever, noted that logistics accounted for 15% of the group’s total greenhouse gas emissions footprint, and British consumer goods giant Unilever was “encouraging our existing carriers to switch to cleaner fuels.”

“By signaling our combined commitment to zero-emission shipping, we are confident that we will accelerate the transition at the pace and the scale that is needed.”

Environmental groups in the Ship It Zero green coalition proclaimed the announced commitments were “historic, but too weak”, and urged the signatories to opt for zero-emissions ships by 2030.

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“If major retail brands truly want to do their fair share on climate change, they need to be on a course correction now, not 19 years from now,” stated Kendra Ulrich at environmental group Stand.earth, a member of Ship It Zero.

Michael Field, the senior equity analyst at Morningstar, noted the pledge by the companies was welcomed.

“Although 2040 is a long time away, it certainly gets the ball rolling on investment in clean technologies and will most likely encourage other large corporations to follow suit, perhaps with even more near-term commitments,” mentioned Field.

The United Nations is set to minimize the maritime industry’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from 2008 levels by 2050, with growing calls for a more ambitious target of full decarbonization by 2050.

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