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Amazon, IKEA and Unilver among shippers make 2040 zero carbon shipping pledge

Photo: Marcus Hand Smoke from ship funnel
Amazon, IKEA, and Unilever, are among nine major shippers that have united in a new coalition with an ambition for zero carbon shipping by 2040.

The Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (coZEV) coalition brings together Amazon, Brooks Running, Frog Bikes, IKEA, Inditex, Michelin, Patagonia, Tchibo and Unilever as its first signatories.

The new coalition said the ambition statement of zero carbon shipping by 2040 sent an “important demand signal to the maritime value chain and bunker fuel producers” that they expected a rapid acceleration of the industry’s efforts to develop zero carbon fuels. The new coalition is facilitated by the Aspen Institute.

“The time to act is now and we welcome other cargo owner companies who want to lead on addressing climate change to join us in collaboration,” said Edgar Blanco, Director, Net-Zero Carbon at Amazon.

“Unilever has committed to achieving net zero emissions throughout our global value chain by 2039. With logistics and distribution accounting for 15% of our total greenhouse gas footprint, we’re committed to working with partners and other companies to accelerate the transition to cleaner transport options,” said Michelle Grose, Head of Logistics at Unilever.

Currently the IMO which regulates shipping has an ambition to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 50% by 2050, although a signifiicant portion of the industry is pushing for net zero carbon by 2050.

As it stands zero carbon shipping is not currently available in the market, although there are a large number of decarbonisation initiatives aimed at developing future fuels for shipping.

AP Moller – Maersk’s order for eight 16,000 teu methanol-powered ships offers the possibility of zero carbon shipping on the Asia – Europe trade from 2024. However, this would only cover a tiny fraction of the overall container shipping trade, and remains contingent on the Danish company being able to source sufficient green methanol.

The production at scale of synthetic LNG would provide a pathway for LNG-powered vessels owned by the likes of CMA CGM to use zero carbon fuels rather than fossil fuels, but this remains in its nascent stages.

Meanwhile environmental groups charged that the statement by coZEV did not go far enough. The Ship it Zero coalition is calling for major retailers to switch to zero emission shipping by 2030.

Ship it Zero noted, “Companies did not specify actions they will take to end ship pollution today, tomorrow, or throughout our most decisive decade on climate action.”