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Following the banks, shipping’s major customers sail ahead of shipowners and the IMO to set and report on decarbonisation

Oct 06 2020

A group of the world’s largest energy, agriculture, mining, and commodity trading companies, will for the first time assess and disclose the climate alignment of their shipping activities. The shipping of crude oil, coal, iron ore, grain and other bulk commodities used worldwide make up over 80% of global seaborne trade. The Sea Cargo Charter is a global framework that allows for the integration of climate considerations into chartering decisions to favour climate-aligned maritime transport of these goods. 

The Charter establishes a common baseline to quantitatively assess and disclose whether shipping activities are aligned with adopted climate goals, consistent with the policies and ambitions adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which includes GHG emissions from shipping to peak as soon as possible and to reduce shipping’s total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 on 2008 levels, with a strong emphasis on zero emissions. 

Jean-Marc Bonello, Consultant, UMAS said “The Sea Cargo Charter is a big step towards transparency around the carbon intensity of maritime transport, ensuring decarbonisation is integral to decisions-made throughout supply chains. This can lead to ships with better GHG performance being rewarded, and charterers taking more responsibility for their scope 3 emissions

UMAS led the development of the methodology and metrics for assessment and decarbonisation alignment in the Sea Cargo Charter. The drafting group included a number of stakeholders including major global shippers – Anglo American, Cargill Ocean Transportation, Dow, Norden, Total, Trafigura – and leading industry players – Euronav, Gorrissen Federspiel, Stena Bulk – with expert support provided by the Global Maritime Forum, Smart Freight Centre, and Stephenson Harwood. 

Similar initiatives are also evolving to enable customers of container shipping to decarbonise their supply chain (scope 3) emissions. Last month a new initiative promised to gather the biggest and powerful brands to use their buying power to speed the transition to Zero Emission Vessels. The Cargo Owners Zero Emission Vessel Initiative (coZEV) a highly ambitious platform launched by the Aspen Institute, which UMAS is also a part of, to develop and make joint commitments for procuring specific volumes of freight to the first zero-ready ocean-going vessel(s), setting targets for exclusively buying zero emission maritime freight by a future year and articulating the need for container shipping lines to adopt GHG reduction benchmarks derived using Science Based Targets.

The Sea Cargo Charter launch event on 7 October 13:30pm-14:15pm UTC will be livestreamed on YouTube and the Charter can be downloaded from the Sea Cargo Charter website