Seatrade Maritime is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Panama Canal appoints first-ever Chief Sustainability Officer

Photo - Panama Canal Ilya Marotta, CSO, Panama Canal
The Panama Canal has announced the appointment of Deputy Administrator Ilya Espino de Marotta as its first Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO).

In this new role, Espino de Marotta will drive the creation of a more robust sustainability strategy, focused on decarbonization and building on the Canal’s long-standing environmental leadership and developing business opportunities.

Working with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group, the Canal is in the process of finalising an inventory of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with a climate risk assessment by the end of the year.

New short, medium, and long-term targets will also be set, with the goal of implementing aggressive emissions reduction targets starting in Fiscal Year 2025.

“As the Canal, we have an outsized influence for the transformation of the maritime industry, and we see an opportunity in leadership to diversify, grow and improve the way we do business,” said Panama Canal Administrator Ricaurte Vasquez. “Ilya will build on and expand our existing efforts, creating a more robust and global strategy for the evolving landscape we now operate in.”

In addition to appointing a CSO, the Canal is integrating responsibility for climate action across its entire leadership team and embedding its commitment to sustainability across the entire business. According to Chief Financial Officer, Victor Vial, “this includes embedding sustainability into over $8.5 billion in expected capital investments through the next five years.”

“Our ambition [at the Panama Canal] is to reach net-zero GHG emissions by or around 2050. In the next six months, we will publish the results of a best-in-class GHG inventory and commit to science-based targets backed by a tangible implementation plan. This is not just about new projects, this is about transforming our business, enabling our customers and employees to transform, so that together we navigate climate risk and succeed in a new climate economy,” said Ilya Marotta.

Marotta began her career at the canal in 1985 as the sole female engineer at its shipyard. She later became the executive vice president for engineering, overseeing the ground-breaking expansion programme. Her appointment as the first female deputy administrator came in 2020.