A race against time and against ourselves. Against the dangerous idea that we can’t do this, that there is no way.
Unlike most races, it won’t have one winner. In this race we all win, or we all lose. Winning it requires a radical, unprecedented level of collaboration, from all corners of our world. From our cities, businesses, regions and investors. From people everywhere.
Together we’re racing for a better world. A zero carbon and resilient world. A healthier, safer, fairer world. A world of wellbeing, abundance and joy, where the air is fresher, our jobs are well-paid and dignified, and our future is clear.
To get there we need to run fast, and get faster. We need more and more people to join the race, and right now. This is not about 2050, it’s about today.
Together, we can do this. And we’re already on our way.
How companies can decarbonize shipping supply chains and protect human rights
By Katharine Palmer, Shipping Lead, UNFCCC High Level Climate Champions & Sturla Henriksen, Special Advisor, Ocean, The United Nations Global Compact | October 13, 2021
The shipping industry is responsible for the movement of 90% of all global trade. Supported by two million seafarers, the industry is the backbone of logistic supply chains, but it’s facing urgent environmental and social pressures.
Currently accounting for about 3% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and emitting around 15% of some of the world’s major air pollutants annually, it is imperative that the shipping industry decarbonizes by 2050 to meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C target and avoid irreversible global warming damage.
More than 150 industry leaders and organizations representing the entire maritime value chain – including shipping, cargo, and finance – are calling on world leaders ahead of COP26 for ambitious, urgent policy actionsto fully decarbonize international shipping by 2050, and make zero-emission shipping the default choice by 2030.
Leading companies are already taking action to support the decarbonization of shipping, from R&D and pilot projects, to ordering and building zero-emission ready vessels, to signalling demand for zero-emission shipping services, investing in the production of zero-emission fuels, and investing in the port and bunkering infrastructure needed to service zero-emission vessels.
However, decarbonization can only accelerate with the urgency and scale needed if international regulators and national governments establish policy frameworks that make zero carbon shipping and fuel production commercially viable and investable.
More demand and investment signals for green shipping
The responsibility to decarbonize and meet climate goals spans across the shipping ecosystem, including cargo owners and financiers. Many cargo owners, retailers, brands and cargo owner initiatives are increasingly demanding greener supply chains and making commitments to reduce (scope 3) emissions across their operations. As zero-emission logistics becomes increasingly sought after – and increasingly demanded by consumers – this in turn strengthens the business case for investing in zero-emission shipping.
Technological advancements to decarbonize shipping are also progressing, but must be further financed and brought to scale. BCG and Global Financial Markets Association have estimated that shipping decarbonization will require about $2.4 trillion, indicating a significant magnitude of funding to be mobilized and the critical role shipping financiers play in enabling this economic transition. Both financiers and cargo owners are being encouraged to sign the recent call to action for shipping decarbonization.
The transition to zero-emission shipping will only be possible if the industry draws on and develops the expertise of seafarers and the broader maritime workforce. New opportunities for decent work could be created across the value chain, such as the production of zero-emission fuels, including in developing countries. Only through a just transition approach will these benefits be equitably shared and accessible. Reskilling, upskilling, and skills transfer must be incorporated into transition plans to ensure the sustainability of the sector as it moves to new fuel sources.
With the corporate responsibility to respect human rights as outlined in the UNGPs at the core of a just transition, shipping companies will need to increase their worker participation through social dialogue and stakeholder engagement with trade unions and communities, enable greater diversity and inclusion, mitigate job losses through skills development, while creating new green and decent jobs and advocating for government policies supporting a just transition.
Value chain can demand a just transition
With decarbonization firmly on the agenda and seafarers’ rights an increasing focal point, cargo owners and financiers across the shipping value chain have a vital opportunity to support a safe and just transition for maritime transport and its workers.
Today, many companies, including those most influential to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), have been, and will continue to be assessed by World Benchmarking Alliance on their contribution to a just transition to the decarbonization of the global economy. While global shipping is not yet included in this initial benchmark, the same lessons apply.
UN Global Compact, together with UNFCCC Marrakesh Partnership and UN DESA, will be hosting a virtual panel discussion on 13 October at 13:00-14:00 GMT, as part of the second UN Global Sustainable Transport Conference in which a diverse representation from shipping ecosystem will elaborate on the need for a supercharged, equitable net-zero transition. Register to hear how organizations can secure a sustainable and responsible shipping industry. You can also get involved by signing the call to action here.
Thanks to the Boston Consulting Group for their inputs and assistance.
Johannah Christensen CEO, Global Maritime Forum & Katharine Palmer, Shipping Lead, Climate Champions explain why the maritime industry is ready to lead the way in our transition to a clean, just, and resilient zero-carbon world.
Green Corridors are specific shipping routes where the feasibility of zero-emission shipping is catalyzed by a combination of public and private actions. Jesse Fahnestock, Head of Research and Analysis at the Global Maritime Forum, explains why Green Corridors are fundamental to Shipping’s Race to Zero.