Shipping companies are moving towards net-zero goods transport and some leading organisations are backing the switch to sustainable fuels. IKEA, Unilever and Amazon have all pledged they will aim to use cargo ships running on zero-carbon fuel by 2040.
While maritime transport only accounts for around 3% of global emissions, as the levels of consumer goods production increase, this figure is likely to rise to 10% by 2050 if companies cannot intervene. All three companies hope that its ambitious target will promote a huge shift away from heavily pollutant ships, which produce around one billion tonnes of pollution per year.
The Aspen Institute, a non-government organisation that is coordinating the switch campaign, is setting a precedent for other retailers and manufacturers to join the movement towards more sustainable logistics.
Dan Porterfield, President of the Aspen Institute, says, ‘Maritime shipping, like all sectors of the global economy, needs to decarbonise rapidly if we are to solve the climate crisis, and multinational companies will be key actors in catalysing a clean energy transition. [...] We urge other cargo owners, value chain actors, and governments to join forces with us’.
Other companies that have pledged to meet the need of the campaign includes Brooks Running (an apparel and footwear company), Frog Bikes, Inditex (owner of Zara clothing), Michelin, Patagonia and Tchibo.
Michelle Grose, Head of Logistics at Unilever—one of the early adopters, says ‘By signalling 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’.
What is the Aspen Institute?
The Aspen Institute is comprised of many thought leaders from various topics, such as education, energy and environment, communications and culture, and many more areas that affect global organisations. The institute provides knowledge and expertise to encourage innovation and action across various real-world scenarios.
While converting maritime transport to a more sustainable form of fuel is not impossible, Aspen understands that this will not be an easy task as the industry has operated in the same manner for decades.
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