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Shipping Industry Gets Serious About Sustainability

Bill DiBenedetto | Wednesday November 2nd, 2011 | 0 Comments

Shipping lines, shipbuilders, banks, insurers and shippers have joined forces on a major sustainability initiative “designed to help the industry make long-term plans for future success.”

Officially launched on Monday, they call it the Sustainable Shipping Initiative/Vision 2040.

The thrust of the initiative is that “radical changes” are needed to make the global shipping industry more energy efficient, environmentally-friendly and sustainable for the long haul.

SSI unites maritime-related companies from across the industry with the NGO’s Forum for the Future and WWF, including:

Here’s the vision: “Shipping plays a critical role in the global economy. Recognizing that the challenges of the future demand significant change, SSI members have developed a shared Vision for 2040 – a vision in which sustainability equals success.”

It’s a fairly comprehensive list that includes these areas for action:

– Pioneering and implementing aggressive improvements in ship design, retrofits and operation while shifting to a diverse mix of renewable and other energy sources, using resources more efficiently and responsibly, and dramatically reducing greenhouse gas intensity.

– Engaging partners to achieve “major supply chain efficiency gains.”

– Providing safe, healthy and secure work environments “so that people want to work in shipping, where they can enjoy rewarding careers and achieve their full potential.”

– Exploring ways to put a financial value on ecosystems, goods and services to ensure responsible resource use and reduce ecosystem impacts.

– Developing financial solutions that reward sustainable performance and enable large-scale implementation of innovation, technology, design and operational efficiencies.

– Transparency and accountability drive performance improvements and enable better, sustainable business decision-making.

– Proactively contributing to the responsible governance of the oceans.

While these are aspirations for 2040, the group says, “We cannot wait until 2040 to become sustainable; we need to act today.  Achieving this vision is a journey. There are many things that we do not know now that may play a key role in the future. However, we want to generate action and real outcomes.”

At this point it’s a broad framework for action with not much detail. But for an industry that’s as old school, hidebound and resistant to change as they come, this vision is a dramatic sea-change.


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