“COP26 has come and gone, and now the hard work begins for businesses to meet the targets and commitments set out by participating governments,” writes marine travel specialist ATPI Halo in a special commentary provided to SMI.
“In the case of the maritime sector, the implications relate almost exclusively to the Clydebank Declaration, signed by 22 states – including Denmark, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, the UK and the US – all major stakeholders in the global shipping industry.
“Centred around the creation of green shipping corridors, the Clydebank Declaration makes the ambitious pledge to establish proposed zero-emission shipping routes between ports. The goal set out by the signatories is to create six green shipping corridors by the middle of the decade, with the aim of increasing this number thereafter, as well as growing the amount of vessels sailing through them.
“This declaration builds on the Zero-Emission Shipping Mission – established as part of the Paris Agreement in 2015 – and is designed to complement the targets set by the International Maritime Organization concerning zero-emission shipping.
“For marine and energy companies this means ensuring that they can collect data regarding their emissions, and that of their supply chain, so that they are able to report accurately. This is especially important in order to set relevant targets and track progress, but also as such reporting is likely to become mandatory. It also means continual investment in research and technology that improves fuel efficiency and allows greater use of – and access to – alternative fuels. These are big target areas for improvement and one of the greatest sources of emissions.
“It is however important to note that all areas of an organisation’s emissions will be evaluated, not only those from the ships themselves. This will include crew travel to and from ships, which will need to be reappraised in order to determine whether more sustainable alternatives can be utilised while ensuring that crew are not overly inconvenienced.
“Crew travel is estimated to account for up to 15 per cent of a marine and energy business’s Scope 3 emissions. This is a significant proportion, and an area that, when effectively managed, can deliver meaningful reductions to an organisation’s carbon footprint. Including fewer legs to a journey, choosing airlines with greater sustainability credentials, and well-managed rotas with fewer last minute changes, all make a difference to the emissions associated with travel.
“There are many ways to ensure that seafarers arrive safely and comfortably at their destination, whilst ensuring that emissions are minimised. This means working with people who understand the crew travel landscape, and can help your business to make the best and most informed decisions that will allow you to make strides in meeting the sector’s sustainability obligations.
“And pressure continues to intensify. The Clydebank Declaration has overtly stated that one of its objectives is to charge the shipping industry with being more ambitious with its targets. The aim is to push the IMO to update its existing target of reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions from ships by 50% from 2008 levels by 2050. This is in order to align them with the goal of keeping global temperature increases to a maximum of 1.5oC compared with pre-industrial levels.
“Signatories of the Clydebank Declaration also reaffirmed their existing commitments to encourage a rapid transition over the coming decade towards clean maritime fuels, zero-emission vessels, and alternative propulsion systems. There are many huge investments and innovations in progress from some of the world’s largest shipping brands, and research that is driving change across the sector. However, the investment required to significantly step-up in terms of sustainability has been hugely impacted by the longevity of the Covid-19 pandemic. Spiraling costs across all areas of operation mean that efficiency is a massively heightened priority.
“The marine and energy sectors must work together in order to achieve decarbonisation. This means sharing knowledge and best practices in order to invest and develop new technologies, fuels and infrastructure in a manner that can be rolled out on a mass scale. Plus, to think laterally and address emissions beyond the vessels themselves.
“The industry has achieved a great deal to date despite the scale and intensity of considerable challenges. In fact, performance and progress to-date highlights just how adept the marine and energy industries are at embracing a fast pace of change. COP26 and the Clydebank Declaration have highlighted the need to continue this rapid innovation and investment in order to deliver a sustainable approach to shipping for the long term. Meeting these targets includes addressing every detail, and finding ways to do better in every possible area.”