Maersk Line Sustainability Progress Update: Defining the Rules of the Sustainability Game

Maersk Line Sustainability Progress Update: Defining the Rules of the Sustainability Game

Major shipping customers are pushing for transparency. Shipping companies are looking for ways to oblige. The result is an industry collaboration that has brought shipping to the forefront in measuring and declaring CO2 emissions.

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Monday, April 14, 2014 - 10:00am

Major shipping customers are pushing for transparency. Shipping companies are looking for ways to oblige. The result is an industry collaboration that has brought shipping to the forefront in measuring and declaring CO2 emissions.

The sustainability game is changing. More and more customers are asking for ways to ensure more sustainable transportation and transparency throughout the entire value chain. This has spurred an effort from Maersk Line and a number of other companies in the Clean Cargo Working Group to work together to promote sustainable transportation.

The common goal is to establish a level playing field for measuring and declaring CO2 emissions from the transportation of goods. »Basically it’s like any sports game: You have to have common rules to play the game in a meaningful way,« says Jacob Sterling, Head of Sustainability at Maersk Line.

»Everybody gains something. Transparency for the customers so they can account for their impact; and standardised methods and collaboration for the shipping companies so they don’t have to comply with different customer standards.«

The common effort between industry and customers has brought shipping to the forefront in measuring and declaring emissions. »Most other transport sectors rely on secondary data, but when we report CO2 it is not an estimate based on standard emission factors. It is the real performance figures,« says Jacob Sterling.

 

Declaration on demand

The big push for transparency has come from the largest customers explains Jacob Sterling: »When more and more customers have established good sustainability performance in their core business, they start to look at their supply chain and also how they transport their goods.«

»Today, we can benchmark our performance on a specific trade lane to an average benchmark or to a competitor. This is an important result we have achieved by collaborating within the industry and across the value chain,« says Jacob Sterling.

The Clean Cargo Working Group has been the focal point of this effort. The Group has worked to set standards and develop tools and methodologies. As Sterling explains, »Any company is welcome to join the effort.«

 

Business will continue to drive development

The standards the Group have agreed on up to now are a big step towards transparency, but more work lies ahead. Ultimately, Jacob Sterling hopes the current success with CO2 can be extended to social sustainability issues as well. »In the future we will push for clearer standards to measure social sustainability.

Right now we are faced with some social standards that have been developed by individual customers to meet their needs. We want to start defining what social sustainability means in shipping. This will enable us to compete not only on CO2 but also on other sustainability parameters.«

»Our longer term vision is to fully integrate sustainability into the relationship with our largest customers; to collaborate on sustainability in a way that drives innovation and systems change.«

 

Download Maersk Line's Sustainability Progress Update 2013: www.maerskline.com/sustainability